The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) uses the CSA score to assess if a fleet and its vehicle carriers are high-risk. What does CSA mean? The CSA score stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability. The FMCSA CSA program is a preventive measure to reduce accidents and increase the accountability of carrier safety programs.

Your fleet business benefits from good CSA scores. You’re more likely to receive lower annual insurance premiums and have fewer DOT audits and road inspections. More drivers will want to work with you and customers have reasons to continue doing business.

If your CSA score is bad, the FMSCA will monitor your operations and request corrective actions based on the score. Your fleet company’s safety data is found on the FMSCA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). This data is updated once a month based on how your drivers performed in roadside inspections, state-reported crashes, and investigation results in the last two years. According to the FMSCA, the SMS data is organized under seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASICs:

  1. Unsafe driving that covers violations such as speeding, improper lane change, inattention, no seatbelts, and reckless driving.
  2. Crash indicator or your history of crash involvement
  3. hours-of-service compliance which includes noncompliance to HOS regulations and logbooks.
  4. Vehicle maintenance of brakes, lights, defects, and failure to make required repairs.
  5. Controlled substances/alcohol
  6. Hazardous materials compliance, e.g. leaking containers or improper packaging.
  7. Driver fitness violations are an invalid license or being medically unfit to operate a carrier motor vehicle (CMV).

Find out how you can get a good CSA score and how the points are calculated to improve your fleet’s reputation.

What is a good CSA score?

What is a CSA score? A driver CSA score is composed of two other components, besides the SMS. It also considers the interventions made, and the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating system. Carriers are ranked based on the SMS data and they are assigned a percentile. The score or CSA safety rating is found between a 0 to 100 percentile.

How many CSA points is bad? The higher the percentile, the more dangerous your record. While 0 achieves a perfect score, no average or exact number defines a good CSA score.

You can also read the CSA score chart based on how the FMSCA prioritizes interventions. They are more likely to intervene where you score higher in the BASICs. But there are also specific BASICs thresholds that are lower in percentile compared to others. Their analysis showed that unsafe driving, crash indicator, and hours-of-service compliance BASICS have the highest crash risk, so these categories lowered the threshold.

How do you check your CSA score?

It’s easy to check for your CSA score. Go to the FMSCA website and enter your registered name or DOT number. For non-public data such as the hazardous material compliance and crash indicator, login using your FMSCA pin or request the PIN from this site if you don’t have it.

How do you improve your CSA score?

Improve your CSA score with strategic moves and preventive action:

  • Maximize Pre-employment screening program reports in your hiring process. These reports show how safe your potential drivers are on the road and ensure you only hire those who comply with the rules and regulations.
  • Be strict about vehicle maintenance. Lights and tires are among the common violations in roadside inspections.
  • Install dash cameras that will accurately analyze driver behavior and external factors on the road. Intelligent dash cams can accurately capture incidences and identify any incoming problems to better prepare your drivers.
  • Upgrade to an electronic logging database to record accurately every driver’s hours of service. HOS is the most common violation found in CSA scores. Having a digital record that drivers can easily access and log onto keeps the data secured.

A List of CSA Violations

Any driver violations have an assigned severity weight according to FMSCA’s SMS. Any recent violations have a heavier weight compared to others. Here’s a list of these violations based on the points it grants to your score:

  • 6-point violations: operating a CMV with obscured lights; inoperable lamps or turn signal
  • 7-point violations: not using a seatbelt; failing to provide supporting documents upon request; pressuring or requiring driver service above 11 hours; speeding from 11-14 mph past the limit.
  • 8-point violations: unqualified or unfit driver; lack of the correct commercial driver’s license endorsement
  • 10-point violations: reckless driving, possession or use of drugs, operating a CMV while using a phone or texting, speeding in a work or construction zone, driving after a HOS violation, and driving a CMV while tired or ill.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a good CSA score benefits your fleet and drivers in the long runlog in. By taking preventive actions and knowing what it takes to get a good driver CSA score, your business can save money and ensure everyone’s safety.

Want to know more about CSA scores? Check out this comprehensive article on everything you need to know about CSA scores.


  1. How do I prepare myself for the event of an investigation?

    To adequately prepare yourself in the event of an investigation, it is crucial to ensure that you possess the necessary supporting documentation. Obtaining and organizing the correct paperwork is of utmost importance, particularly those required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Each Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) BASIC has specific documents that are necessary for compliance. These can be found in the designated resources provided by the relevant authorities. By diligently gathering and familiarizing yourself with the required documents, you will be well-equipped to handle any potential investigation efficiently and effectively.

  2. How long are violations/crashes on my Safety Measurement System (SMS) results?

    The duration for which violations and crashes are reflected on your Safety Measurement System (SMS) results is 24 months. Therefore, any documented violations or crashes within the past two years will be taken into account when evaluating your SMS scores.

  3. Do drivers have a CSA score?

    Drivers do not have a CSA score. However, carriers do possess a CSA score, which measures their compliance and safety performance. Instead, drivers have a Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) report, which serves a similar purpose as a CSA score by tracking their violations and driving history.

  4. Can I remove a violation from my CSA score?
    Certainly! It is possible for a carrier to request the removal of a violation from their CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) score. This can be achieved by initiating a review through the DataQ process. If a carrier believes that the data relating to a violation is incomplete or incorrect, they have the opportunity to provide additional information or evidence to justify their case. By submitting a request for review, carriers can potentially have a violation removed from their CSA score and thus improve their overall safety rating.
  5. How are SMS percentile ranks calculated?
    SMS percentile ranks are calculated based on a scoring system that takes into account the number and severity of violations and accidents associated with a carrier’s DOT number. This scoring system ranges from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating a higher level of risk. The timing of these incidents also influences the ranking, with more recent violations and accidents being weighted more heavily.

    To ensure a fair comparison among carriers with different levels of activity, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) normalizes these violations and crashes by considering factors such as the number of miles traveled per vehicle and the total number of relevant inspections conducted.

    An example can help illustrate how percentile ranks are determined. Let’s consider Carrier A and Carrier B. Carrier A has two violations out of three total inspections, while Carrier B has three violations out of ten inspections. In this scenario, Carrier A will likely be ranked in a higher, more dangerous percentile than Carrier B.

    It’s important to note that not all BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) violations hold the same weight. The FMCSA assigns different point values to different types of violations. For example, violations such as operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) while texting or using a handheld mobile phone, reckless driving, or driving 15 or more miles per hour beyond the speed limit carry 10 points. On the other hand, not having the proper commercial driver’s license endorsement or having an unqualified/unfit driver are assigned 8 points.

    The FMCSA also takes into account the timing of violations when calculating the carrier’s score. Points for violations incurred within the past six months are multiplied by three, violations incurred within the past six to 12 months are multiplied by two, and violations incurred within the past 12 to 24 months are counted once.

    By considering all these factors, carriers’ percentile ranks are determined, providing a measure of their safety performance compared to other carriers in the industry. A comprehensive list of violations, along with their severity weights and point rankings, can be found in the FMCSA’s SMS Methodology Document.

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