Introducing Purcell Compliance Services LLC: Understanding the FMCSA’s CSA Program

The CSA program, which stands for Compliance, Safety, and Accountability, is a vital initiative aimed at enhancing road safety for all drivers. Every motor carrier under the Purcell Compliance Services LLC umbrella is assigned a CSA score that reflects how well they adhere to the established safety requirements. 

FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) 

To assess the safety and compliance of motor carriers, the FMCSA utilizes the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which evaluates their performance across seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The assessment considers factors such as the frequency and severity of safety violations, recent crash data, and the number of trucks operating under the carrier’s name. 

Understanding the CSA Score 

Implemented in November 2010, the CSA program is designed to foster carrier awareness of their responsibility in maintaining safe roadways. Each carrier’s CSA score represents their level of road safety, calculated on a scale of 0 to 100. Higher scores indicate poorer safety performance. The scores are regularly updated on a monthly basis through the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). 

Calculation of CSA Scores 

The CSA score is determined using core metrics known as BASIC scores, which stand for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. These scores are derived from data collected from crash reports and roadside inspections in the FMCSA SMS. The calculations consider various factors, including the recency of incidents (only the last 24 months contribute to the score), the severity of crashes, and the total annual miles driven. 

The 7 BASICs include: 

  1. Crash Indicator: Measures the frequency and severity of crashes.
  2. Controlled Substances and Alcohol: Assesses instances of drivers operating a CMV under the influence.
  3. Driver Fitness: Evaluates drivers who fail to maintain qualification files or operate without a CDL.
  4. Hazardous Materials Compliance: Focuses on handling hazardous materials correctly, including labeling and container integrity.
  5. HOS Compliance: Examines compliance with hours-of-service regulations and record-keeping for at least 6 months.
  6. Vehicle Maintenance: Ensures carriers properly maintain vehicles, including lights, brakes, and load securement.
  7. Unsafe Driving: Considers violations such as speeding, improper lane changes, seatbelt non-compliance, and dangerous driving behavior.

Impact on Drivers and Carriers 

Individual drivers do not receive CSA scores; only carriers do. However, for owner-operators, their CSA scores reflect their driving and safety habits, as well as those of other drivers within the company. 

A low CSA score can lead to numerous benefits, including fewer DOT audits, lower insurance premiums, and increased trustworthiness in the eyes of potential clients. Conversely, any score above 50 should be taken seriously, and scores above 65% in Crash Indicator, HOS Compliance, or Unsafe Driving can trigger an FMCSA investigation. 

Checking Your CSA Score 

To stay informed about your CSA score and your risk of a DOT audit, Purcell Compliance Services LLC offers a new Audit Risk Monitor. With this service, you’ll receive monthly updates on your CSA score, enabling proactive measures to improve safety and compliance. 

Improving Your CSA Scores 

Focusing on prevention is crucial to maintaining a good CSA score. Purcell Compliance Services LLC recommends conducting thorough background checks when hiring drivers and encouraging drivers to prioritize safety on the road. 

Additionally, staying connected with drivers and providing access to advice during risky situations, such as illness or adverse weather, can prevent incidents. In case accidents do happen, there are several tips to improve scores, including: 

  1. Careful Driver Hiring: Balancing speed of onboarding with proper background checks.
  2. Comprehensive Driver Training: Ensuring drivers are well-prepared to handle challenging situations.
  3. Vehicle Maintenance: Promptly addressing and repairing vehicle issues.
  4. Pre-Trip Inspections: Conducting thorough checks before each trip to avoid violations.
  5. Continuous Risk Monitoring: Utilizing Purcell Compliance Services LLC’s Audit Risk Monitor to stay updated on CSA scores and address safety concerns.

Anticipated Changes in 2023 

The FMCSA is considering updates to the SMS to enhance crash risk evaluation and prioritize safety interventions. Proposed changes include consolidating BASICs, revising violation severity weights, and adjusting intervention thresholds. Stay informed about these updates through Foley’s compliance experts. 

Count on Purcell Compliance Services LLC 

At Purcell Compliance Services LLC, we are committed to helping you maintain a low CSA score while operating a safe and compliant business. Our Audit Risk Monitor provides regular CSA score updates, allowing you to track your performance and take necessary actions. Get your FREE demo of our compliance software today to ensure you stay on top of your safety and compliance efforts in the eyes of the FMCSA. Fill out the form below to get started. 

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