CSA (Compliance, Safety and Accountability)

The FMCSA imposed new regulations in December 2010 and ongoing. These have had a significant impact on the industry. CSA was a major FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) initiative to improve the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement programs. The ultimate goal was to achieve a greater reduction in large truck and bus crashes, minimizing the potential for fatalities, injuries and property damage. Through CSA, a measurement system was created to monitor and measure carriers, as well as individual drivers.

CSA is a new, efficient way to carry out compliance and enforcement programs with its purpose being a comprehensive measurement system, a safety fitness model that is based on performance data and also includes a broader array of innovative initiatives.


BASICS (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories)

The BASICS are the foundation to the regulations and consist of seven categories of data available through the SMS (Safety Measurement System). These behavior categories review data that can lead to crashes and is integral to the measurement system. Each is summarized below:

  • 1 Unsafe Driving - The most popular and often one of the most cited by compliance officers. Common moving violations are speeding, disobey traffic control devices, and unsafe lane usage. Mandatory violations issued for seat belts, reckless driving, cell phone use, radar detector use and driving a CMV while OOS (Out of Service).
  • 2 Crash History – All DOT Reportable accidents are recorded and weighed based on frequency and severity (Fatalities, Injuries and Tows).
  • 3 HOS Compliance – Primarily directed at the Hours of Service. Mandatory citations issued on 11 hour, 14 hour, 60/70 hour rules, record of duty status, not current in last 7 days, no log book and false logbook. With ELD’s (Electronic Logging Devices) now mandatory with most carriers, many violations have ceased unless drivers ignore HOS. Many common violations now are no ELD instruction book/sheet and no backup paper logs.
  • 4 Vehicle Maintenance – Mandatory citations for multiple brakes out of adjustment, multiple OOS defects, no/expired annual inspections, lights, tires and load securement (mostly flatbed and specialized).
  • 5 Hazardous Materials Compliance
  • 6 Controlled Substances and Alcohol – Mandatory citations for use or possession of drugs/alcohol and detectible presence of drugs/alcohol.
  • 7 Driver Fitness - Mandatory citations for wrong class CDL, violation or endorsement, violation of restriction, operate while disqualified, no medical card (unless on driver’s license) and no medical waiver (when required).

All violations weighed differently based on a point system under the SMS (Safety Management System). The data is collected from on-road safety performance activities that include roadside, weight station, traffic enforcement and crashes.

CSA Includes both Motor Carrier and Driver Safety Performance

This is the major change from Safestat. FMCSA designed two safety measurement systems – one for the carrier and one for the driver. The carrier data is compiled and analyzed over 24 months, but the driver data is compiled and analyzed over 36 months.

Motor Carrier Compliance Review (CR) vs CSA Intervention

Under Safestat these were referred to as compliance audits. The process was very defined and specific. CSA Interventions are now much different in the following ways:

  • 1 CR’s occur at the carrier’s place of business and all are very similar. CSA may not be at the place of business and will generally be focused only on one or more specific deficiencies.
  • 2 The outcome of a CR can be citing of all minor and critical violations, whereas the outcome of CSA determines the root cause of a safety problem and provide guidance on corrective and preventative measures.
  • 3 A CR determines a carriers rating, while CSA will ultimately combine violations with on-road safety performance.
  • 4 The focus of a CR is compliance. While CSA is also focused on compliance, it is also about identifying the causal factors and improving behaviors linked to crashes.
  • 5 CR’s are time consuming and result in reaching fewer carriers (5%) vs CSA Interventions prepared to address safety problems and help reach more carriers in the process (up to 30-40%).


Compliance is becoming more defined and adaptable to reach more carriers and drivers, and focused on both compliance and safety. Both the Motor Carrier and the driver must maintain an active role in the process, as both are measured collectively and individually. History of the violations is tracked and both the Motor Carrier and the drivers are monitored closely under the FMCSA Scope.

PASS Response

This is your resource to keep your Motor Carrier out of trouble. We analyze, develop, train and implement. We also have software tools and online programs to assist you in these efforts and simplify your life. A short no obligation consultation by phone will help answer your questions directly and expediently. Bob Byrnes 210-607-9076.