A Guide to CSA Point Values and Transportation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial vehicles, and its CSA program is designed to ensure that drivers and their employers are complying with safety standards. In the past, the FMCSA used Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) Points to rate carriers.

Under the FMCSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS), violations are now assigned a severity weight (they can still be called points) and are assessed anytime a violation occurs. Safety violations are tracked by the SMS, categorized under the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and added to a score for the fleet the vehicle belongs to. If a fleet reaches a certain threshold (a higher percentile), it is flagged and prioritized for intervention by the FMCSA.

There are seven BASICs categories—Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance, and Driver Fitness. There is also an Acute and Critical sub-category of violations added to each BASIC category, whose values create automatic flags against a carrier in SMS. Some common infractions are listed within broader subcategories along with their weighted values and designations under the electronic code of federal regulations.

Driving Violations

Truck driver in cab
Monty Rakusen/Getty Images

10-Point Violations

  • Using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV—393.82(a)(1)
  • Texting While Operating a CMV—390.33-XS
  • State/Local Laws—Operating a CMV
    while texting—392.2-SLLS2
  • Reckless driving—392.2R
  • Speeding 15 or more mph—392.2
  • Speeding in construction zones—392.2-SLLS4 (State and Local Laws)

8-Point Violations

  • Unqualified driver—391.11

7-Point Violations

  • Speeding 11 to 14 mph—392.2-SLLS3

5-Point Violations

  • Failure to obey a traffic control device—392.2
  • Following too close—392.2
  • Improper lane change—392.2
  • Improper passing—392.2
  • Using or equipping a CMV with radar
    detector—392.71(a)

4-Point Violations

  • Speeding between 6 and 10 mph—392.2

2-Point Violations

  • Lacking physical qualifications—391.11

Critical Violation

  • Operating a commercial motor vehicle not in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is being operated—392.2

Vehicle Maintenance

8-Point Violations

  • Flat tire or fabric exposed—393.75(a)

6-Point Violations

  • Inoperative turn signal—393.9TS
  • Inoperable tail lamp—393.9T
  • Operating CMV with lamps/reflectors obscured—392.33

3-Point Violations

  • No or defective lighting devices or
    reflective material as required—393.11

1-Point Violations

  • Passengers not protected from falling
    baggage (bus)—392.62(c)(3)

Critical

  • Failing to keep minimum records of inspection and vehicle maintenance—396.9(c)(2)

Hours of Service Violations

10-Point Violations

  • Operating a CMV while ill or fatigued—392.3

7-Point Violations

  • Violating state and/or local hours of service (HOS) laws—392.2
  • 15, 20, 70/80 HOS violations (Alaska-Property)—395.1
  • 16-hour rule violation—395.1
  • Requiring or permitting a driver to drive over 11 hours—395.3
  • 11-hour rule violation—395.3
  • Requiring or permitting a driver to drive past 14 hours on-duty—395.3
  • 14-hour rule violation—395.3
  • 60/70 hour rule violation—395.3
  • 34-hour restart violation—395.3
  • Violating HOS (transportation of migrant workers)—398.6

Critical

  • Requiring or permitting a driver to drive more than 10 hours—395.3(a)(1)

Controlled Substances/Alcohol

10-Point Violations

  • Driver uses or is in possession of drugs—392.4(a)

5-Point Violations

  • Driver consuming an intoxicating beverage within 4 hours before operating a motor vehicle—392.5(a)

3-Point Violations

  • Driver having possession of alcohol while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a CMV—392.5A2-POS

Critical

  • Using a driver before the motor carrier has received a negative pre-employment controlled substance
    test result—382.301(a)

Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance

10-Point Violations

  • Packaging not authorized by the Hazardous Materials Regulations—173.24(c)
  • Package not secure in-vehicle—177.834(a)

8-Point Violations

  • Tank outlets not marked—178.245-6(b)

7-Point Violations

  • Damaged liquid discharge hose—180.416(g)

4-Point Violations

  • Fail to possess remote shutoff when unloading—177.840(s)

Critical

  • Failing to provide security awareness training—172.704(a)(4)

Driver Fitness

 10-Point Violations

  • Operating a CMV while possessing a fraudulent medical certificate—390.35B-MED

8-Point Violations

  • Driver operating a CMV without proper endorsements or in violation of restrictions—391.11B5-DEN

4-Point Violations

  • Driver cannot read or speak the English language sufficiently to respond to official inquiries—391.11(b)(2)
  • Driving a CMV in Interstate Commerce and driver is less than 21 years of age—391.11(b)(1)

1-Point Violations

  • No medical certificate in driver's possession—391.41(a)

Crash Indicator

The Crash Indicator is different from the other categories, as it doesn't assign weights by specific actions. This data is not publicly available but indicates that a carrier has a problem that needs to be addressed.

A formula is used to determine the percentile a carrier or fleet will rank in.

Crash Indicator Measure = (Total of Time and Severity Weighted Applicable Crashes) ÷ (Average PUs x Utilization Factor)

Where Total of Time and Severity Weighted Applicable Crashes is a unit (1, 2, or 3) is assigned to each crash based on the amount of time since the crash, the Average PU is the average power unit (average of the number of vehicles currently, 6 months previous, and 18 months previous), and the Utilization Factor is a multiplier used to adjust the average power units based on utilization.