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How Many CSA Points Is Bad?

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Published on Feb. 8, 2024, 10:33 p.m.

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In the trucking industry, “How many CSA points are bad?” is a common question. Let’s dive right into the answer:









Generally, a CSA score of less than 70 is considered to be bad.

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires a "satisfactory" rating (score above 70) in all categories.
  • If a carrier has fewer than 20 inspections and/or violations, they will receive an overall numerical score that is calculated from their individual scores in each BASIC category (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories).
  • The FMCSA considers any numerical score below 30 as unsatisfactory” and any score between 31 and 69 as conditional.” Scores of 70 or higher are considered satisfactory.”




Introduction to CSA Scores





The FMCSA's CSA program (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) is designed to help protect all drivers on the road. Each motor carrier has a CSA score that reflects its performance against established requirements. Your CSA score can be more than just another compliance requirement - it can be a powerful asset for your business if you approach it with the right attitude and understanding. Read on to find out the answers to key questions about the CSA point system used by the FMCSA. Know more about CSA Scores.




What Are CSA Scores?





The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program was established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in November of 2010. It is an initiative designed to raise awareness of carriers' responsibility to ensure the safety of our roads and highways.


Do you want to know what a CSA score is? A CSA score for each carrier is calculated on a scale of 0-100, with higher numbers indicating a poorer level of safety. This score is updated through the FMCSA's Safety Measurement System every month, giving carriers an idea of how their safety practices are performing. By using CSA scores and other data points, carriers can ensure they meet their obligations while keeping people safe on the road.



In 2010, some significant changes were made to the CSA point system in order to make it fairer for drivers who weren't at fault for their accidents. These alterations have continued since then, and there may be more adjustments in store for the future. Keep reading to learn more about the CSA point system and potential upcoming revisions.





How Are CSA Scores Calculated?





The core metrics used to measure safety performance are known as the BASIC scores, which stand for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. These scores are calculated using data from crash reports and roadside inspections gathered in the FMCSA SMS database. The specific results of your score may change depending on how long ago an incident occurred (only recent events within the last 24 months contribute), the severity of any crashes involved, and the annual miles driven. This way, your company can comply with the FMCSA and USDOT.



CSA points threshold, Safety rating implications, Violation severity assessment, FMCSA intervention criteria, Compliance evaluation standards.






What’s a Horrible CSA Score for a Truck Driver?



Drivers don't have an individual CSA score; only carriers do. However, if you're an owner-operator, your safety record and habits behind the wheel may influence your company's CSA score. That means that a good driving attitude and awareness of safety protocols can benefit you and your team.




What's a Good CSA Score?





Having a low CSA score is an important goal for any carrier. A good score can mean fewer DOT audits, lower insurance premiums, and more opportunities to become a trusted and responsible provider for potential customers. The closer your CSA score is to 0, the better off you will be. Taking steps to reduce your score can help you reap the rewards of being considered a reliable carrier in the industry.




What Is a Bad CSA Score for a Carrier?





A score of 50 or higher on the BASICs is something to take seriously. If your Crash Indicator, HOS Compliance, or Unsafe Driving scores are 65% or more, you could be investigated by FMCSA - this threshold drops to 50% if you're transporting passengers or hazardous materials. Similarly, any other BASIC category with a score of 80% or more is also worthy of investigation. Therefore, it's important to maintain an awareness of your scores and take steps to reduce them if necessary.




How Can I Improve My CSA Scores?





Taking a proactive approach to your CSA score is the best way to ensure your safety and success. You should always conduct thorough background checks when hiring drivers and prioritize safety while on the road. Taking these steps will help you prevent any incidents that could negatively affect your CSA score and keep you in good standing with the FMCSA. Investing in driver training and keeping up with industry regulations are also excellent ways to improve your CSA score. Don't wait until something goes wrong – start taking measures today to improve your overall safety record for the future!



Accidents are unfortunate and can happen anytime, even to the most experienced drivers. If you want to improve your score and ensure that your drivers stay safe on the road, here are some tips:

  • Ensuring your drivers are adequately trained is essential for a successful business. Review any incidents that occur to understand what went wrong and how it can be avoided in the future. Ensure your drivers know how to handle difficult situations and provide them with the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. By training and educating your staff, you will ensure that potential hazards are handled properly, and preventative steps are taken when necessary.
  • Drivers should be aware of any problems with the vehicles they are operating and report them immediately. To keep the fleet running smoothly, carriers must ensure they have access to the resources necessary to complete repairs quickly. This reduces downtime, allowing drivers to stay on the road and deliver their shipments on time. Taking care of your vehicle not only keeps you safe but also guarantees that your cargo gets where it needs to go without incident.
  • Before setting off on a journey or even during long-haul trips, carrying out a pre-trip inspection is essential. This will help reduce the chance of being cited for minor, easily fixed violations, for example, a broken light. Regular maintenance is always important, but these checks are especially valuable when traveling. Don't let yourself get caught out with something so simple - take the time to check your vehicle before setting off.




Safety performance benchmarks, CSA point penalties, Risk assessment metrics, Safety management evaluation, Regulatory compliance thresholds.






What If I Receive a Violation?





Your CSA score will remain on your record for two years. If it gets too high, the FMCSA may decide to conduct a compliance review. In certain cases, if your score is particularly alarming, an out-of-service order may be issued – though this usually only happens after receiving multiple violations and warning letters. Therefore, it won't come as a surprise.




Summary: How Many CSA Points Is Bad in Trucking?


  • A rating of 90 or below on the FMCSA CSA score is considered substandard and may lead to penalties such as suspension of operating authority or other serious consequences.
  • If a trucking company has a CSA score of 90 or lower, it's strongly recommended that they address any safety issues before the situation worsens.
  • It's important for trucking companies to monitor their CSA scores regularly and take steps to improve them if necessary.
  • The FMCSA provides resources and advice on how trucking companies can manage their CSA scores and ensure they comply with federal regulations.

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