FMCSA Proposes Changes to CSA

Protecting your fleet has never been more affordable

TVC is out in front and has your back. This article discusses the proposed changes to CSA and provides a link so you can view your current CSA Score under the proposed CSA Prioritization.

Congress ordered the FMCSA to review the Motor Carrier Safety Measure System and CSA program methodology in 2015. The report was published in June 2017. On February 14, 2023, the FMCSA announced proposed changes to the CSA process.

Let’s start with a bit of history.

CSA has monitored trucking companies and drivers since the program’s official launch in 2010. The CSA acronym originally stood for Comprehensive Safety Analysis and was changed by the FMCSA a few years later to Compliance, Safety and Accountability. The name change resulted from several industry leaders and critics identifying several flaws in the CSA process that did not accurately provide industry stakeholders with a “Comprehensive Safety Analysis” for many reasons, resulting in a series of ongoing changes beginning in 2012.

CSA comprises three components. 

  • The Safety Management System (SMS) – Utilizes inspection and crash data to assist the FMCSA in determining which motor carriers represent a hazard and should be reviewed. The term “Compliance Review/Audit” has since been replaced with another term, “Intervention,” but it is still an audit.
  • The Process – Intervention tools gathered from SMS and other carrier information, allowing the FMCSA to focus on more at-risk motor carriers
  • The Rule – Enabling the FMCSA the ability to utilize roadside inspection data and on-site investigation data (compliance reviews) to rate the motor carrier and determine if they were fit to continue to operate. A safety-fitness determination for motor carriers.

The FMCSA intended to:

  • Gather data to raise the safety bar to enter the industry.
  • Require the operators to maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry.
  • Remove high-risk motor carriers and drivers from the roadways.

The program did not produce the results as intended. CSA was not producing the FMCSA’s intended outcomes, and the industry lobbied congress for changes. In 2015 Congress ordered the FMCSA to remove public access to data so the methodology and data could be reviewed.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reviewed the entire program. The process reviewed all elements of CSA and concluded the Safety Measurement System calculation was not calculated on sufficient data. It was, stated in the report from the NAS that the data was “ad hoc and not fully supported by empirical studies.”

CSA Prioritization Preview – Changes are Coming

  1. FMCSA has already launched a website for motor carriers to log in and preview their scores under the new system.
  2. BASICs will now be called “Safety Categories.”
  3. Controlled Substances & Alcohol Violations will be included in the Unsafe–Safety Category.
  4. Jumping an Out-of-Service (OOS) violation will be included in the Unsafe–Safety Category regardless of the OOS violation code.
  5. Vehicle Maintenance Safety Category will be divided into two groups: Vehicle Maintenance: Driver Observed and Vehicle Maintenance: All other VM violations.
  6. New methodology will organize/combine the 959 roadside violations into 116.
  7. Proposed methodology will “Prioritize a motor carrier for additional monitoring.”
  8. Prioritization Preview Dashboard will be different. Look for: Prioritization and Data Sufficiency, and your Safety Category will be “Prioritized” vs. “Alert Status.”
  9. HM will be split between Cargo Tank and Non-Cargo Tank.
  10. Data Sufficiency – Only calculate percentiles for safety categories in which a carrier has received a violation within the last 12 months to focus on interventions on carriers with recent safety issues (applies to all safety categories except Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator).
  11. No more safety event groups. Proportionate percentile changes.
  12. Prioritization will be based on the prior 12 months vs. 24 months.
  13. Crash History Dashboard will be separated into Preventable and Non-Preventable.
  14. Investigation Tab – Acute or Critical Violations during the last intervention.

Information on the Proposed Prioritization Preview and a login link to preview your company’s scores can be found here.

As attentive members of the industry, TVC Pro-Driver will continue to stay on top of transportation topics and changes that may impact your company and drivers. 

By Steve Wilhelms, Director of Safety and Compliance

Protecting your fleet has never been more affordable