Arkansas State Police Diorama

Carriers operating in the United States are all to familiar with CSA, if you’re not, you should start right now.  Carriers know all to well that their CSA score has a huge impact on the bottom line.  What does  get overlooked is getting our drivers familiar with CSA, we should do this  because many aspects of this program directly reflects a commercial driver’s potential for employment in their chosen profession not to mention, for most carriers their CSA score is mostly based on driver performance on the road.  With this in mind the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) has created a CSA Driver Fact Sheet which help answer some common questions surrounding the program and it’s impact on drivers.

Ever wonder what kind of data the FMCSA is trying to get from your drivers, well wait no more here is the most common CSA driver related questions from the FMCSA.


Q. Why does FMCSA’s CSA program emphasize driver safety enforcement?

A. Studies have shown that unsafe driver behavior, both on the part of CMV drivers and other drivers, is a major contributor to CMV-related crashes. Some studies indicate that a small segment of the CMV driver population is involved in a disproportionately large number of crashes. As a result, during the CSA Operational Model Test, FMCSA expanded its approach to identifying and addressing unsafe drivers during interventions with motor carriers.

Q. Can you describe the CSA driver safety enforcement process?

A. The driver safety enforcement process provides FMCSA with the tools to identify CMV drivers with safety performance problems and to verify and address the issues. These tools enable Safety Investigators (SIs) to identify drivers with poor safety histories who work for carriers that have been identified as requiring a CSA investigation.  If the investigation results verify the driver violation(s), FMCSA takes an enforcement action against that driver, such as a Notice of Violation (NOV) or a Notice of Claim (NOC).

Q. What kinds of driver safety performance data is CSA looking at?

A. The program focuses on driver enforcement for Serious
Violations, such as:

  1. Driving while disqualified
  2. Driving without a valid Commercial Driver’s License
  3. Making a false entry on a medical certificate
  4. Committing numerous Hours-of-Service violations

Q. Do tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal vehicles impact the SMS?

A. No. Tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal cars are State citations and do not count in the measurement system. SMS only uses violations of FMCSA’s regulations, and those regulations only apply to people driving large CMVs. In measuring on-road safety performance, SMS uses all safety-based violations documented at roadside inspections as well as State- reported crashes.

Q. Does CSA assign safety ratings to individual CMV drivers?  I heard that CSA is designed to rate CMV drivers and to put many of them out of work.

A. No. Under CSA, individual CMV drivers are not assigned safety ratings or Safety Fitness Determinations (SFDs). Consistent with the current safety rating regulations (49 CFR part 385), individual drivers who operate independently as a “motor carrier” (i.e. have their own USDOT number, operating authority, and insurance) will continue to be rated as a motor carrier, as they were under the earlier SafeStat model, following an onsite investigation at their place of business. CSA is designed to meet one overriding objective: to increase safety on the nation’s roads. Therefore, it is, by design, a positive program for drivers and carriers with strong safety performance records. CSA sends a strong message that drivers and carriers with poor safety performance histories need to improve.

Q. What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) and when does it start?

A. PSP is an FMCSA program mandated by Congress that is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual operators’ crash and serious safety violation history as a pre-employment condition. The program is voluntary.

It is not part of CSA. For more information about PSP, visit FMCSA’s PSP website at

Q. What is the detailed process for drivers to contest information contained in their FMCSA driver records?

A. Drivers should use FMCSA’s DataQs system to make a Request for Data Review (RDR) in FMCSA databases. To do this, drivers can go to the DataQs registration page at, select “Register Online” as a general public user, and create a DataQs account profile. Once registered, drivers can request a review of their data by following detailed instructions in the help menu.

The agency is in the process of improving the DataQs Website to make the process of requesting a data review more apparent to drivers.

Truck Tragedy on the Emirates Road

Here is a  copy of the  CSA Driver_Factsheet from the  FMCSA for you to download and keep on hand.  The more you understand how your driver performance is tracked and used by CSA the better equipped you are to keep your driving record blemish free.  Remember your livelihood depends on it.

Photo credits:

Phil’s 1stPix / / CC BY-NC-SA

 Danny McL / / CC BY-NC-ND

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