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How a CDL trucker’s CSA Score affects job prospects

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The CSA is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s data driven safety compliance and enforcement program.  The CSA score affects any interstate carrier that has a US DOT number. The CSA enforcement program tracks drivers’ personal accident history. The number of accidents truckers have, whether ore not their fault or not, determine what type of action the CSA may take against them, if an employer will hire them, and if a shipper will employ the trucking company.

Driver Violations and your CSA Score

There are 670 possible violations within six categories. The CSA scoring system takes into consideration all DOT-recorded accidents. Incidents are scored on a numeric basis. There are 12 red-flag violations that are the most severe. For example, a trucker operating a commercial motor vehicle without a CDL will get penalized with eight points. A driver using or in possession of drugs gets hit with a 10-point violation.

CSA violation categories include:

Unsafe Driving – Moving violations and auto crimes. These include speeding, lane change, reckless driving, improper lane change, etc.

Fatigued Driving – driving out of compliance with hours-of-service requirements, or driving while sick or tired.

Driver Fitness – Unfit to drive because of improper certification or being medically incapable

Controlled Substance – Not just driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, but being in possession of illegal drugs or illegal possession of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication misuse

Vehicle Maintenance – failing to maintain mechanical issues like lights, brakes, or a shifting load

Cargo-Related – violating hazardous material regulations, not having proper paperwork

Crash Indicator – repeatedly involved in state reported crashes

Chart of common moving violation CSA Points

Violation

CSA Points

Texting / cell phone while Oper a CMV

10

Failure to obey traffic control device

5

Failing to dim headlights when required

3

Following too close

5

Improper lane change

5

Lane restriction violation

3

Failure to maintain lane

5
Improper passing

5

Unlawful parking

1

Reckless driving

10

Railroad violation

5

State/Local Laws – Speeding 6-10 MPH over the speed limit

4

State/Local Laws – Speeding 11-14 MPH over the speed limit

7

State/Local Laws – Speeding 15 or more MPH over the speed limit

10

Failing to use seat belt

7

Driving over time restrictions

7

As a commercial driver or the goal is to keep the CSA score low. A major factor in keeping it low is getting clean roadside inspections. Federal regulations mandate that inspection details be transferred from states to the FMCSA within three weeks. There are five levels of inspections:

Level I and Level II – most detailed inspections, covering all driver and vehicle safety issues

Level III – inspection of driver and hazardous materials issues only

Level IV – examination of special items, like cargo tanks

Level V – inspection of vehicle only

Results of your CSA score get recorded on you your pre-employment screening record (PSP record) maintained by the FMCSA. The PSP report includes your five-year crash and three-year inspection history. The PSP record does not assign a point value or score.

Inaccurate pre-employment screening record (PSP record), they can be appealed through FMCSA’s DataQs online system. Drivers can also obtain a complimentary copy of their PSP report from the carrier choosing to hire them through the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Sole-proprietor drivers can get a copy of the PSP report by paying a fee.