Five million truck drivers share the road with more than 250 million motoring public to move freight throughout the U.S. The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is an enforcement program of the FMCSA that holds the motor carriers and drivers accountable for their role in road safety. A big part of that is measured via a carrier’s CSA score, a metric many companies are constantly seeking to improve.

Improving your CSA score is about commitment to safety. Aspects of the CSA scores are public, and clients look for companies with good scores, because a good CSA score indicates responsibility, professionalism, and low risk.

You’re always able to check your CSA score at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA site by entering your USDOT number and PIN.

What is a CSA Score?

The FMCSA uses a system called Safety Measurement System, or SMS, which is made up of seven different variables known as BASICs. The BASICs that make up your CSA score are:

  1. Unsafe driving This includes speeding, reckless driving, or using a hand-held cell phone while driving.


  2. Crashes from the past two years While aggregate CSA scores are public, this part of it is not. Crash data is only available to enforcement personnel and carriers who are checking on their own profile.


  3. Hours-of-service compliance Drivers need to be awake, alert, and able to react quickly and competently when necessary. This includes HOS violations, general form and manner violations and ability to operate ELDs.


  4. Vehicle maintenance Any vehicle violations which result from improper pre- and post-trip inspections, and not performing necessary repairs or seeing to vehicle defects like broken lights will show up here.


  5. Controlled substances Alcohol, drugs, and prescription medication that could impair a driver’s performance are not allowed. Containers of alcohol, whether open or closed, are not allowed in CMV cabs.


  6. Hazardous materials compliance Hazardous materials often come with specific regulations about how they should be handled, loaded, unloaded, and labeled. This also includes what to do with given hazardous materials in the event of a leak. Like data on crashes, this data is only available to enforcement personnel and carriers checking their score, not the general public.


  7. Driver fitness Carriers are responsible for ensuring that drivers’ qualifications are complete and current. Commercial drivers’ licenses (CDs), state driving records, reviews of driving records, and relevant medical certificates all need to be up-to-date.


Improving CSA Scores

One of the best ways to improve CSA scores is to improve driver performance. Five of the seven BASICs the FMCSA uses to create CSA scores deal directly with driver behavior and fitness, so while maintaining your equipment is necessary, you’ll improve your score far more by investing in your employees.

The starting point to improve driver performance is with good data. Technological solutions can empower drivers with the information they need to be safer and take the guesswork out of what constitutes good driving. For instance, telematics solutions can monitor factors like speed, braking, and time on the road.  The EROAD Driver Insight Report gives drivers and managers precise numbers about their performance, and provides benchmarks from which they can improve.

Ranking drivers by performance such as with EROAD Driver Leaderboard can encourage an atmosphere of healthy competition within your organization. If drivers can see how they stack up to one another on a leaderboard, they will strive to increase their scores with better self-management and by cultivating good driving habits.

Automated notifications such as the EROAD Max Speed Alert can equip you and your drivers with the real-time data necessary to boost their performance and your CSA scores. It can also help your fleet avoid costly on-road incidents and foster an environment of data-based professionalism and self-improvement within your organization.

Long term CSA success

Your CSA score is more than just a number. It can affect relationships with customers, insurance premiums, your ability to keep or gain more drivers, and frequency of audits. When your reputation, your business and the public’s well-being are on the line, you can’t afford not to lead with safety.

Choose a telematics partner that can support your safety goals. Get in touch with EROAD today to see how. Contact Us.

Soona Lee

Soona Lee

Director, Regulatory Compliance - North America

Soona Lee is responsible for understanding regulatory context and policies and technical requirements and translating them for development of the company's suite of compliance products. 

Read all Soona's blog | Find more about her 

How to improve your CSA score

by | May 8, 2019 |

Share This