Safety is always the number one focus of a motor carrier and its drivers. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) program designed to improve large truck and bus safety and prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) on our nation’s roads. CSA assigns scores based on safe and unsafe carrier and driver behaviors.
How does CSA affect you, the driver?
- Unsafe carrier and driver behaviors that lead to crashes are identified and addressed
- All safety-based roadside inspection violations count toward CSA scores, not just out-of-service (OOS) violations.
- Drivers are more accountable for safe on-road performance, which is good news for drivers with strong safety performance records.
Drive safely and responsibly and you will have nothing to worry about!
CSA—Just the Facts
There is often confusion surrounding the purpose of CSA and what will and won’t affect your carrier’s scores. Let’s set the record straight:
- Carriers and CMV drivers do not need to register for CSA, nor is there any kind of mandatory training requirement. However, it is in your best interest to be informed about CSA and what it will mean for you. CSA is primarily focused on helping the FMCSA improve its enforcement operations.
- CSA has not changed any of the FMCSA regulations.
- Using the new Safety Measurement System (SMS), the FMCSA continues to hold motor carriers responsible for the job performance of those who work for them. Therefore, motor carriers are held accountable for your driving errors, such as speeding. This is a longstanding FMCSA position and is not unique to CSA or the SMS.
- Carriers do not inherit any of your past driving violations. Only those inspections that you receive while driving under a carrier’s authority can be applied to that carrier’s SMS record.
- All inspections and crashes that you receive while under the authority of a carrier will remain part of the carrier’s SMS data for two years unless successfully appealed and overturned through the DataQs system (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov), even if the carrier terminates you.
- Tickets or warnings you receive while operating your personal vehicle do not count in the SMS.
If a carrier or CMV driver finds any violations in his or her crash or roadside inspection reports that are not listed in the SMS Methodology severity tables, then they do not count towards the carrier’s or driver’s SMS data.
- The FMCSA regulates all CMVs that weigh over 10,000 lbs. and travel interstate. The FMCSA also regulates CMVs that haul hazardous materials intrastate.
- While research indicates that high body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for sleep apnea, neither the FMCSA nor the CSA program currently has any rules that restrict who can be a CMV driver based on BMI or weight or neck size. A BMI in the “obese” range (>30) is often cause for health concerns.
- The data kept by a state (e.g., tickets, citations, written warnings, convictions) and the data that is kept in the SMS (violations from roadside inspection and crash reports) are separate. This data must be assessed and, if necessary, corrected under separate processes. All data in the SMS can be verified in the DataQs system.
- CSA does not give the FMCSA the authority to remove drivers from their jobs and cannot be used to rate drivers or to revoke a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The FMCSA does not have the authority to take those actions. Only state agencies responsible for issuing licenses have the authority to suspend them. However, receiving numerous violations can lead to severe penalties from your carrier, up to and including termination.