First of all, it’s necessary to understand what it means: CSA stands for Compliance, Safety and Accountability. This program is used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to track and evaluate trucking companies based on the seven major factors impacting CSA scores which are the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs):
The seven BASICs are weighted with the most dangerous violations assigned the highest points and less dangerous violations assigned the lower points. Examples of 10-Point violations (the highest weighted violations) include reckless driving, speeding 15 MPH or more over the limit, violating an out-of-service order and the use of drugs and alcohol while operating a vehicle. Lower point violations can include the driver lacking the physical qualifications – i.e. not wearing corrective lenses while driving (2 points) not having seat belts installed (2 points) and improper turns (5 points).
Trucking companies that do not score well in the system are the ones FMCSA will spend time warning or investigating!
CSA scores can affect your business in the following way:
HIGHER SCORES: Shippers often look at the available data to help choose safe, reliable carriers. Higher CSA scores unfortunately can prevent you as a carrier from getting the most profitable loads.
INSURANCE RATES: Insurance companies use Basic Scores in their evaluation of your carrier’s risk profile. Often, higher CSA scores lead to higher premiums and deductibles.
AUDITS AND INVESTIGATIONS: Higher scores may put you for FMCSA intervention and investigations. These audits can be extremely costly and time consuming!
DRIVERS: They want to work for carriers that take safety seriously and your CSA score will have a significant impact on their decision to work for trucking companies.
How can you improve your CSA Score?
DRIVING VIOLATIONS: As a driver make sure you are adhering to road safety rules. Stay within speed limits, obey traffic control devices, use caution in hazardous situations and never drive under the influence.
SAFETY MANAGEMENT: Understand how your safety program contributed your safety problems.
EDUCATE: Yourself and your employees on the regulations and industry best practices.
REVIEW: Inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed.
ENSURE COMPLIANCE: Being knowledgeable of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials (HM) Regulations, if applicable.
MCS 150: Check and update whenever there is a change to your company’s profile at least every two years. As required by regulation.
E-LOG VIOLATIONS: Make sure your ELD is working at all times. Device failures and errors will cause CSA point deductions.
HOURS OF SERVICE VIOLATIONS: States have differing hours of service laws. Adhere to these standards and don’t drive while ill or tried to make sure that points aren’t given in this category.
MOBILE DEVICE VIOLATIONS: Never use a phone or text while driving. This is against the law in most states and will result in 10-point violations.
PAPERWORK VIOLATIONS: Keeping up to date with paperwork is a responsibility attributed to all trucking companies. CSA scores will be raised if drivers’ licenses aren’t in order, they don’t have proper CDL classifications or logs and other records aren’t kept up to date.
BUS VIOLATIONS: Bus drivers are held to similar standards to those for commercial drivers. They must have the required licensing, shouldn’t drive while fatigued and must follow road laws and safe driving practices.
Simplex Group has the commitment to guide and educate you with DOT regulations by offering our products to provide solutions to your problems with insurance, brokers, investigations and audits. It is extremely important to take into consideration that all carriers have the same risk of increasing their scores.