How to Check your Trucking Company’s CSA Score
CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) Scores refers to the primary means that FMCSA relies on to identify high-risk motor carriers. The CSA program was purposely designed to help in enhancing safety conditions for the general public and carriers. Your CSA score features a compilation of data gathered from crash reports, roadside inspections, registration details, and investigative results. Consequently, the CSA scores provide a detailed picture of the safety record of a motor carrier.
Once the data is captured, it is published on the FMCSA’s Safety Management System (SMS) website, making it available for the public and the trucking companies. However, it is good to note that only the performance data is made available to the public; the final CSA scores are not accessible to them. Trucking companies are required to check their scores regularly as they are updated monthly. Besides, these companies can maintain a positive CSA score by equipping their fleet with tools that enable drivers to drive safely, such as the My20 ELD.
CSA Program Basics
The program was officially launched in November 2010 with the objective of enforcing the program set by the FMCSA to help promote road safety. The CSA program has faced some challenges since its inception, with some questioning its effectiveness in promoting safe driving. However, some of the challenges like distinguishing collisions caused by commercial drivers from the ones caused by other drivers have been resolved.
With Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) scores, the safety scoring program is of great benefit to the industry. The CSA program offers seven safety behavior metrics, which include Alcohol/Controlled Substances violations, Hours of Service Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Crash Indicator, Unsafe Driving, Driver Fitness, and Hazardous Materials Compliance. Some of the unsafe behaviors that Unsafe Driving prioritizes include reckless driving, speeding, inattention, using a hand-held cell phone, texting, and improper lane change.
The Controlled Substances/ Alcohol BASIC prioritizes the misuse of illegal drugs, alcohol, prescription, and over-the-counter medications that would impair your driving ability.
Crash Indicator BASIC helps identify behaviors that contribute to crashes and patterns that lead to high crash involvement. However, it is good to understand that all crashes involving commercial vehicles are reportable, provided that they result in an injury, fatality, or there is need to tow a vehicle from the scene of the crash.
The Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC focuses on regulations that demand special attention, such as how to package, label, mark, and load hazardous materials. It also includes the understanding of regulations for tank specification, attendance, loading, or unloading and leakage. The BASIC is not public as it is only available to enforcement personnel or motor carriers logged into its safety profile.
On the other hand, the Vehicle Maintenance Basic ensures proper vehicle maintenance, which promotes road safety. It considers vehicle repairs, defects, post, and pre-trip inspections.
The Driver Fitness BASIC focuses on driving records. It requires every driver to be able to provide commercial driver’s licenses, state driving records, medical certificates, employment applications, and driving records’ annual reviews. Motor carriers are charged with the responsibility of ensuring drivers have complete and current driver qualification files.
Finally, the Hours-Of-Service Compliance focuses on the requirements for bus drivers and large truck drivers to awake, alert, and able to respond on time.
How do I Check my CSA Score?
To check your CSA scores, you need your DOT number or your carrier’s DOT number if you are a driver driving under his or her carrier. Trucking companies are required to check their CSA online at FMCSA.com or csa.fmcsa.dot.gov. To locate your score, you will be required to visit the SMS login page and enter your DOT number and PIN. If you do not have the DOT number, you can request one from USDOT. Usually, the delivery of the DOT number takes 4 to 7 days.
The scores are set between 0 and 100, and each violation adds you a point, which means that the lower the score, the better. Usually, calculations in some violations are made based on the volume or the severity of the violation, while for other violations, it is done on a cut and dry point system. For instance, a crash that leads to fatality or injury will affect your CSA score more than one that only needs to be transported from the crash scene.
What Does CSA Score Mean?
A good CSA Score is important to every commercial driver, but this does not mean that a poor score will make you lose your commercial driver’s license. Some of the reasons why your CSA Score matter includes:
Recruitment and Retention
Every responsible driver dreams about working for a top company that prioritizes safety. Running a safe fleet means that your driver is safe, and other road users are also safe.
The CSA score has a direct impact on your insurance premiums. A lower CSA Score means lower insurance premiums, while a higher score means higher insurance rates as it implies that you are at a greater risk.
Fewer Compliance Checks
Commercial drivers with lower CSA Score pass through fewer compliance checks while those with a higher score are subjected to more frequent checks. These compliance checks include roadside inspections and DOT audits.
The CSA Scores are accessible to the public, which means that your clients are likely to check your record before picking you over your competitors. Therefore, you must always assume that your CSA score or record is the determining factor when it comes to winning clients.
Peace of Mind
If you have a favorable score, the lower your business expenses, the greater the opportunity for more business and likely a better run company that puts more money in your business bank accounts.
CSA Scores are important to any fleet company as it offers a number of benefits. To maintain favorable scores, it is advisable to check driver PSP records before hiring them. This will ensure that you only pick drivers with a track record of responsible and low-risk driving. Moreover, trucking companies should also equip their fleet with tools that allow your drivers to drive safely to maintain a favorable score.