CSA scores are percentile rankings given to carriers, including owner-operators, by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They are intended to identify high-risk motor carriers who may require intervention. A poor CSA score can trigger warning letters and investigations.
The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program provides a standardized ranking to assess carriers' relative safety, crash risk, and compliance. Carriers are compared to others who share similar characteristics, such as size and type of vehicles operated, and then are grouped into percentile bands by number of safety events. The percentiles range from 0 to 100, and the higher the percentile, the worse the safety performance. Safety events that affect CSA scores include state-reported crashes, DOT inspections, and violations.
The FMCSA stores this safety data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which is updated once a month with data from roadside inspections, including any driver or vehicle violations, as well as crash reports from the past two years, and any investigation results.
There are seven categories in the SMS, called BASICs, which stands for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. Carriers receive a percentile rank in each of these categories. The seven BASICs are:
There are a number of reasons that a motor carrier may be prioritized for an intervention. The CSA program considers the number of safety violations and inspections, the severity of safety violations or crashes, the recency of safety events, the number of vehicles a carrier operates and the number of miles traveled, and whether any acute or critical violations were found during an investigation.
Motor carriers whose BASIC percentiles are above the intervention threshold may receive warning letters, be subject to increased scrutiny from law enforcement, or even be placed out of service.
Motor carriers who are prioritized for interventions or further monitoring will have an "Alert" symbol displayed in the corresponding BASIC on the SMS website. You can view your carrier's CSA scores by inputting your US DOT number into the online FMCSA portal.
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