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How to Improve Your CSA Score in 5 Steps

Posted December 6, 2018 by Administrator

All Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores are available to the public, which has a direct effect on how much business a trucking company can accrue. Customers prefer companies with better scores, plain and simple. However, having a good CSA score also means fewer roadside inspections and interventions.

While CSA scores may be a significant source of frustration for fleets and owner-operators, they do serve an important purpose. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed the initiative with the goal to improve roadway safety for drivers, passengers, and the motoring public at large. When a fleet or independent driver falls below acceptable standards, they run the risk of fines and interventions. Fleets that want to avoid interventions and keep their hard-earned cash should adhere to the following:

  1. Make changes starting at the top. Company leadership needs to show they are serious about improving CSA scores if they want their employees to follow suit. Taping flyers up around the office won’t cut it, either. Fleet managers need to foster a culture of safety by holding regular discussions and imbuing everything they do with safety in mind.
  2. Get employees onboard. Once management makes safety a personal priority, they need to help employees do the same. While most drivers are aware of the importance of CSA scores, they aren’t always so sure of the nuances. If they don’t understand what’s expected of them or just how serious safety violations are, they won’t be able to comply.
  3. Understand the top violations. FMCSA assigns a score to every CSA violation, meaning some are worse than others are. For example, failing to carry a valid medical certificate is a one-point violation whereas problems with lights carry a six-point penalty. Tire-related violations carry an even heavier penalty at eight points per violation. Avoiding these top point-heavy violations goes a long way toward keeping CSA scores low.
  4. Update safety procedures. Trucking companies can take a hard look at their CSA score to determine how they accumulate most of their violations. From there, they can update company policy to include those areas in drivers’ pre-trip inspections. Making pre-trip inspections mandatory is also necessary to prevent avoidable violations.
  5. Challenge citations. FMCSA doesn’t write CSA violations in stone. Carriers have two years to challenge citations. If they can get a citation dismissed, FMCSA removes the points from their CSA score. Even getting a violation’s severity reduced is worth the effort because it will mean fewer points toward the overall CSA score.

Improving CSA scores is vital to keeping a trucking company in business. Poor scores mean fewer customers, heavier fines, and more frequent interventions by the Department of Transportation (DOT). However, better CSA scores also mean improved safety, which is a top priority for any fleet. To learn more about improving your fleet’s safety, email us at

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.