Complete Guide On Improving CSA Score
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Complete Guide On Improving CSA Score

Complete Guide On Improving CSA Score

Drivers and fleet managers do their best to maintain their CSA scores to follow safety standards and better business opportunities. By learning how to maintain CSA scores, drivers and fleet managers understand compliance and safety rules. Read on to know how you can improve and maintain your CSA score.

What is a CSA Score?

The CSA Score stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability Score. The CSA Program was introduced by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) in December 2010. It works as a program for identifying high-risk commercial vehicles.

The CSA program was created with specific goals – to prevent accidents and hold truckers, fleet managers, and motorists accountable for their role in road safety. The lower the CSA scores, the better compliance, safety, and accountability. The program encourages companies or drivers to stay in compliance and follow the measures for road safety.

For the better functioning of the CSA program, FMCSA created SMS (Safety Management System). SMS uses data from roadside inspections, state-reported crashes, and investigation reports from the last two years.

The FMCSA categorizes this data into BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories).

CSA Score Rules You Must Know

  • The CSA scores depend on the violation of the past 24 months. 
  • Each month, the driver’s and owner-operator’s or carriers’ profile is updated with the violations, if any. 
  • The score lands up between 0 and 100 percent. 
  • It only includes the violations while driving commercial vehicles and not personal vehicles.
  • Violations related to the vehicle and the driver operating under a carrier’s DOT are assigned to the carrier. While violations pertaining to the driver are assigned to the responsible driver’s data. 

How To Check Your CSA Score?

Carriers should check their scores regularly. If they have a low score, they should take action immediately. You can learn where you need to improve if you keep monitoring the scores. Moreover, you can analyze your progress once you implement the solutions for the improvements. You can also share your scores with potential clients once you have improved.

You can check your CSA score from the USDOT website, that is,

Steps to check your CSA score

  • Enter the USDOT number with the PIN on the SMS login page and check your score.
  • You can request the PIN from USDOT if you don’t have one.
  • It usually takes four to seven days for the delivery of the PIN.

What is a good CSA score?

The CSA scores are determined on a 0 to 100 percent level. The FMCSA has categorized the score on every level, based on the BASIC relationship to crash risk. Higher scores can attract FMCSA investigation.

For example, if your score is more than 65% in Crash Indicator, Unsafe Driving, and HoS, you are subject to FMCSA investigation. The threshold score of a commercial vehicle carrying hazardous materials is 50%, and for the vehicle carrying passengers is 60%. The remaining categories have an 80% threshold, after which the FMCSA can intervene.

Carriers with good CSA scores can have the following benefits:

  • Lower Insurance Premiums
  • Better Reputation For Business Opportunities
  • Fewer DoT Audits
  • Prevent Roadside Inspections
  • Impacts Overall Performance And Management

BASIC Categories That Contribute To CSA Score

Unsafe Driving

The Unsafe Driving BASICs prioritize intervention for dangerous driving behavior. It includes speeding, texting, holding a cell phone, rash driving, improper lane changes, not wearing a seatbelt, and inattentive behavior. The state officer may issue a citation or just a verbal warning.

HoS Compliance

The HoS Compliance BASIC states compliance with the Hours of Service Regulations set by FMCSA. It conveys to the drivers the necessity of staying awake, aware, and responding quickly.

Vehicle Maintenance

The Vehicle Maintenance BASIC includes keeping your vehicle up to the mark to ensure safety on the roads. It requires you to do proper vehicle inspections, find faults, and if the automobile is ready for a trip.

Issues like worn tires, improper load securement, faulty brakes, lights, improper cargo attachment are considered.

Controlled Substance And Alcohol

The controlled substance/alcohol BASIC includes operating a commercial vehicle under the influence of alcohol, misuse of the prescription of over-the-counter medications, and illegal drugs. Its violation also covers failing the alcohol/drug test while driving.

Crash Indicator

The Crash Indicator BASIC identifies patterns of high crash involvement. It looks at the history of previous crashes. It is a “crash” when it involves a collision, fatality, injury, or requires transportation of the vehicles from the location.

Currently, the Crash Indicator BASIC does not involve a driver’s role in the crash though the crash is reportable. However, the FMCSA is working on incorporating the same in the future.

Hazardous Material Compliance

The Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC addresses special attention to hazardous materials. Materials that require proper packaging, mark, labels, load, placard, well-built containers, etc., need special care. It also involves regulations for the testing tank, attendance, loading/unloading, and leakage.

Driver Fitness

The Driver Fitness BASIC involves checking driving records. It includes drivers’ qualifications, CDLs (Commercial Driving Licenses), state driving records, medical certificates, annual reviews, and compliant employment applications.

Best Ways To Improve CSA Score

Improving your CSA score may take time though you can increase its probability by clearing more violation-free inspections. The more inspections without violations, the lower the score will be. Here are some tips that may help you improve your CSA score

Reliable And Efficient Electronic Logging Device

An efficient ELD (Electronic Logging Device) lets the manager know about the driver’s location, driving behavior, estimated arrival, etc. assisting in productivity and providing good services. However, an ELD that reports false, inaccurate, or late data can cause you a loss. It may slowly report back to the web portal and create a troublesome situation. Ultimately it would lead to an increase in the CSA score.

For instance – A driver is traveling through a remote area with no cellular connection, not recording the logs at the right time could lead to inaccurate data and the HoS violation. In such a case, they could use an ELD that can work offline and upload the data as soon as it catches the signal.

Thorough DVIR

You can prevent the violations that occur due to imperfectly packed trailers by doing thorough DVIRs. With careful DVIR (Driver Vehicle Inspection Report) inspections, you can not only follow the safety rules that are federally mandated but also increase the chances of improving your CSA score. Regular DVIR assists you in identifying the issues with trucks functioning, lighting, trailer, tires, etc. You can find out all the faults you need to avoid before a journey through a proper inspection.

Strict Recruitment Process

The CSA score depends on your driving skills and behavior. Their inspection reports are critically important. While hiring truck drivers, you should check their PSP (Pre-Employment Screening Program) records to know about their safety records.

Proper Training of Drivers

Even if you hire skillful drivers with a good PSP record, give them training and prepare them according to the CSA program. Some of the thresholds are based on aggressive driving. Just like hard braking, ELDs can monitor the aggressive driving of a vehicle. Drivers tend to drive recklessly or speedily when they are running out of time. It not only deteriorates the condition of your CMV but also puts them in danger.

Healthy Drivers

The penalty for driving while unwell is 10 points. It is the same as texting while driving and driving while controlled substances/alcohol. So, make sure that your drivers are in the best of their health and do not have any life-threatening disease. Healthy and attentive drivers are the epitome of road safety. It is the reason why the FMCSA insists on breaks and rest periods.

Stay Up To Date With Rules And Regulations

The rules and regulations for commercial vehicles or trucking industries keep on updating every year. Your ignorance of the law can cost you your reputation or get you in big trouble. Staying updated with the FMCSA and DoT rules increases the probability of improving your CSA scores. The threshold percentage and points table changes every year, so staying up to date will let you keep your score low. Whether you are a truck driver or own a business, being knowledgeable about every update is ultimately beneficial for your business.

Use Modern Tech 

If you use modern technology or gadgets such as software to detect the performance, dash cams, tire air pumps, etc, you can improve the efficiency as well as CSA scores. By regularly monitoring your drivers and vehicles, you will be able to detect the flaws hassle-free. You and your drivers can also exercise the practice of intuitive gadgets in your daily routine so your drivers can handle various situations in any condition. All of this may lead to a better CSA score.

Final Note

The best way to improve your CSA Score is to learn about the rules and regulations and avoid violating them. Drivers can practice ethical driving habits to promote safety and improve scores.

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