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A Compliance, Safety, Accountability score’s role in trucking

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Traffic Offenses |

Truckers are responsible for operating heavy vehicles that carry massive amounts of cargo all across the country. In an effort to keep the roadways safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses a Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring method to determine how safe motor carriers and commercial truckers are.

The score given to a particular driver or entity is the result of assessing seven specific areas of concern that are critical for commercial trucking safety. A score ranges from 0, which is the safest score to 100, which is the least safe score. Each violation of a point in the seven critical safety areas can add 1 to 10 points, so a score of 100 comes with at least 10 violations.

What are the seven safety points?

The seven safety areas are known as the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). These include:

  • Unsafe driving: Reckless driving and speeding
  • Crash indicator: History of crashes
  • Hours-of-Service compliance: Violations of HOS regulations
  • Vehicle maintenance: Braking or light issues, failing to take care of required repairs
  • Controlled substances/alcohol: Possession or use
  • Hazardous materials compliance: Improper placards, leaking or improper containers
  • Driver fitness: Lack of medical documentation, invalid license

The severity of the issue determines the number of points. For example, an impaired driver automatically receives 10 points, a seat belt violation is 7 points and loose cargo is 1 to 7 points.

Once the base number of points is determined, the number is multiplied by one to three, depending on how recently the infraction occurred.

  • 3x: Carriers 1 to 6 months ago, drivers 1 to 12 months ago
  • 2x: Carriers 7 to 12 months ago, drivers 13 to 24 months ago
  • 1x: Carriers 13 to 24 months ago, drivers 25 to 36 months ago

Once the required time from the violation elapses, which is 24 months for carriers or 36 months for drivers, the points fall off the record.

How do traffic violations impact CSA?

Traffic violations fall under the unsafe driving BASIC. This means that each one can lead to points. Commercial drivers have the option of fighting tickets they receive, which may help to keep their CSA score as low as possible. In some cases, the violation they’re charged with might be able to be reduced to something that won’t lead to as many points. This could help them to avoid a higher CSA score so they aren’t considered highly unsafe and incur issues with insurability and employability.

Drivers who are concerned about fighting tickets in order to keep their score low may benefit from seeking legal guidance to learn more about their rights and options.