Regulation Simplified - CSA

We are a free tool for motor carriers. The information provided does not cover the full regulatory requirements. To view the full regulation go to “Quick Links” at the bottom of this page.

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CSA Defined

Currently the FMCSA is revising the CSA methodology and the percentages are not open to public view.  See Quick Links below or Industry News to follow the status of CSA.

What is CSA?

CSA is FMCSA’s data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program.  The goal is crash preventability.

The SMS (Safety Management System) is the tool that calculates a fleets “CSA scores” or often referred to as CSA percentages.   FMCSA updates the SMS once a month and organizes the data into seven (7) Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).  The data that makes up the SMS is provided by local law enforcement who conduct roadside inspections at roadside, at scales, at audits/compliance reviews as well as crash data received from police reports.   The data is then put into a complex algorithm which time weights the information, compares them against similar fleets, and assigns points based on violations related to crash risk.  This information is released monthly in the form of percentages or “CSA Scores”.  Each BASIC gets a percentage/score assigned to it.

The seven (7) BASICS are

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Crash Indicator
  • Hours of Service Compliance
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Controlled Substance
  • Hazardous Material Compliance
  • Driver Fitness

The SMS data continues to impact the monthly CSA percentage for the two years from date of incident. The more recent the incident the more relevant it is in the algorithm and the more it impacts the scores/percentages.

Complete SMS results are available to enforcement users and carriers that are logged into their own safety profiles. For more information on what SMS data is available to the public.

SMS data updates around the first of every month for the information gathered from the previous month.

Viewing CSA Percentages

What is viewed in a CSA public or private portal?

The SMS/CSA safety portal provide access for the public and carriers to view the following information. Some information is not available to the public.

  • Roadside inspection history (review more at Equipment & Maintenance)(public, limited information, private full access)
  • 7 BASIC Percentages or “CSA Scores” (private)
  • Safety rating and audit history (public)
  • Licensing and insurance details (public)
  • Carrier registration information (public)
  • Crash history (public, limited information, private full access)
  • Out of Service percentage (public)
  • A carrier’s general information (public)

There are two ways to view the BASIC information for carriers and other interested parties.

  1. Public CSA portal which allows access to everyone (public viewing). This provides limited information.
  2. The Carrier Private CSA Portal provides in-depth information on the above listed items.

Why motor carriers should access their private portal?

  • View CSA percentages
  • File annual MCS150 update
  • Submit Data Q’s
  • See driver names and information on roadside inspection and crashes

What are the CSA intervention thresholds?

BASIC Intervention Threshold
  Passenger HazMat General
Unsafe, Crash, HOS Compliance 50% 60% 65%
Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substance/Alcohol, Driver Fitness 65% 75% 80%
HazMat Compliance 80% 80% 80%
Receiving a Warning Letter

What is a motor carrier required to do if they receive a warning letter about my CSA percentages?

Motor carriers receive intervention threshold letters from FMCSA due to poor safety performance during roadside inspections or the motor carrier has had several DOT reportable crashes.  Poor performance results in one or more of their 7 BASIC scores going above the intervention threshold.  When this happens the FMCSA sends out an intervention letter.  The FMCSA does not expect a response from the motor carrier. However, they are expecting a reaction to the letter. The warning letter is a precursor to an intervention by FMCSA such as an onsite or offsite investigation (compliance review/audit).  Fleets should review the letter and implement a program to reduce the CSA score.

All fleets should check their CSA scores regularly to address issue before they reach the intervention thresholds.

See Quick Links below for additional resources and information.

Lowering CSA Percentages

How do motor carriers lower their fleets CSA scores?

Motor carrier’s who want to lower their CSA scores can target specific areas to get immediate improvement.  Keep in mind CSA is set up so violations that are recent weigh heavier on a CSA score then older violations.

  • Find the most common violation in your roadside inspections that is driving up your companies CSA score.
  • Target that violation and other violations associated with it.
  • Set up driver training, rewards programs, and corrective action programs to address drivers with repeat violations.
  • Review your equipment – older equipment will have more violations.
  • If your fleets Vehicle Maintenance score is above threshold and your not sure where to start to improve it, focus on brakes, lights, and tires. They are the most common violations issued nationwide that drive up Vehicle  Maintenance scores.
Licensing & Insurance

What other tools are available for motor carriers relating to the CSA program?

Licensing and Insurance

This can be accessed from the CSA public or private view in the CSA portal.

The L&I section confirm insurance and licensing of carriers. It also provides information on the insurance providers.    

Pre-Screening Program (PSP)

Pre-Screening Program (PSP)

A PSP is a voluntary tool offered by the FMCSA to help carriers prescreen their drivers. A PSP is available to drivers or carriers. However, carriers can only pull the PSP on a driver during the pre-hire process of hiring a driver.

The PSP offers:

  • Five years of roadside inspection history including out of service information.
  • Three years of crash information including if there was a fatality, injury, or a vehicle was towed.

Cost:                                     

  • A report is $10
  • An annual fee between $25 to $100 is also required.
Tips from Industry Safety and Compliance Professionals

Tips that HR and Safety professionals use.

  • For public information check CSA information around the 5th of every month for the previous month. Since it updates monthly this is usually right after the update.
  • Login to your portal account to see updated roadside inspections for the current month.
  • Use your portal to update your MCS150.
  • You can have moving violations removed by going to the fleets portal (private view of CSA) and submitting a data Q. Make sure to send a copy of the ticket or citation dismissal or change of violations paperwork provided by the court.
  • Use licensing and insurance to verify carriers have operating authority and verify licensing information. Great tool for brokers.
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