Tag Archives: CSA scores

Basic Guide to CSA scores

There’s a never-ending battle of cheap vs. safety. Which will you choose – cheaper or safer? Going with safer over cheaper might (and will) save you a lot of trouble and money in the long run. It’s not worth to lose a dollar while trying to save a dime, right?

Carrier.jpgBut how can we find out what’s safer? That’s where CSA scores come into play. The Compliance Safety Accountability is a project launched by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) back in 2010. The main purpose of this initiative is to improve safety on the roads for heavy trucks and buses.

What are the CSA scores anyway? The evaluation is based on seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, commonly referred to as BASICs. These include:

  • Hours of Service
  • Unsafe driving
  • Driver fitness
  • Controlled substances/alcohol
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Hazardous compliance
  • Crash Indicator

Violations in each category count against general carrier safety. Of course, you cannot treat a broken tail light and driving under influence as equally critical violations. Violations are ranked by severity each subject to a certain amount of points. The combination of violations defines a general safety Out of Service percentage for Driver and Vehicle. Many shippers and 3PL’s have certain Out of Service thresholds in place for the carriers they use on their loads.

Understanding and considering CSA scores when pre-screening carriers for your loads is a helpful tool. Although implementing CSA scores seemed like a win-win at first, it caused a lot of controversial feedback. The push-back resulted in limiting the public access to these scores back in 2015.

FMCSA has been working on improving carrier safety evaluation to smoothen the process. Currently, the data is available on the FMCSA website. The scores in each category, except Crash Indicator and Hazardous compliance, are public. You can access the data on the recent violations under each available category, as well as historical data, which shows general trends – are the violations continuously rising? can you clearly tell the carrier is working hard on boosting their safety scores?

In the end, it’s all about information. Making an evaluated decision backed up by some actual data is never a bad idea.


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CSA Scores to Make Early Comeback?

CSA.pngIn 2015, the FAST Act required FMCSA to remove CSA (Compliance, Safety and Accountability) information from public view. It also mandated that FMCSA repair the CSA program so that scores can be used as a consistent, reliable safety measure.

The CSA scores have been controversial since FMCSA made the data available to the public. While some argued that the scores would improve highway safety, others were frustrated with the accuracy of the ratings. The Government Accountability Office criticized the scores, calling them unreliable.

The ATA was happy to see the mandate of CSA changes. “By ordering an evaluation and improvement of CSA, and removing flawed scores from the system, this bill [the FAST Act] is an important victory for data and accuracy in regulatory oversight,” said the ATA Executive Vice President, Dave Osiecki.

CSA, an FMCSA initiative, was introduced in December 2010 to improve the safety of commercial motor vehicles. As part of the initiative, FMCSA uses the Safety Measurement System (SMS) to assess compliance by analyzing safety data. The SMS organizes roadside inspection, crash, and investigation information into seven BASICs: unsafe driving, crash indicator, HOS compliance, vehicle maintenance, controlled substances/alcohol, hazardous materials compliance, and driver fitness.

The scores were removed last year, pending the required overhaul. According to FMCSA’s website, pursuant to the FAST Act of 2015, some information that was available on the website related to property carrier’s compliance and safety performance is no longer available for public display.

In July 2016, FMCSA outlined plans for a two-year program allowing certain nonpreventable crashes to be removed from motor carriers’ public and private safety profiles. Under the program, when a crash is determined nonpreventable, it would be removed.

Anthony Foxx, Transportation Secretary, believes it will take two years for the program’s scores to be reposted online.

In just 7 months, FMCSA has made huge progress towards fixing the CSA program.

The unsafe driving, driver fitness, HOS compliance, vehicle maintenance and controlled substances/alcohol aspects of the seven BASICs are already available to the public on an interim basis.

Motor freight carriers can view their complete CSA scores by logging in with their official DOT number so they can work to improve their compliance before the full scores go public.

CSA_Initiative.jpgFMCSA is already pushing to pass a new safety proposal, the safety fitness determination rule, before CSA information is even allowed to be made public.

FMCSA continues, month by month, to add more CSA information onto their website. Duane DeBruyne, FMCSA spokesman, said that except for a “couple more IT issues to work through,…all the most substantive changes” to the interim public display have been made.

CSA scores will be made public again one way or another. Whether you believe that’s good or bad, it appears FMCSA is fully supporting a quick return of this information to the public.

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