Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is the major safety benchmark and reporting program designed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA). It has been designed to replace the SafeStat program, up until 2010, CSA stood for ‘Comprehensive Safety Analysis’.
The CSA program, that came into effect in December 2018, includes no new laws. However, its scope applies to almost every aspect of the U.S commercial freight vehicles industry. The new program affects all businesses that operate commercial vehicles like trucking companies, commercial shipping companies, private fleets, etc.
The goal of this program is to collect safety performance and asset maintenance data and enforce safety laws to reduce accidents by pinpointing areas of concern.
A New Safety Compliance and Enforcement Model
The new CSA model affects carriers that fit within a specific body of parameters that include all vehicles over 10,000 lbs that travel interstate and/or carry hazardous vehicles inside a state. The model establishes a three-part model for compliance and enforcement that reads like this:
- Measurement: CSA uses data from inspections and crash outcomes to gauge safety performance. The goal is to identify and address behavioral patterns that lead to these crashes.
- Evaluation: CSA addresses these behavioral patterns bu using the Safety Measurement System (SMS) that checks safety performance issues and monitors compliance issues over a period of time.
- Intervention: CSA lays down the process of how safety data is collected, analyzed, and shared. It also specifies the need for authorities to intervene for various circumstances.
The standard for measurement by the CSA program is through SMS. It collects and reports safety data to the public online each month. It measures performance by tracking data over a period of time. Safety violations include – violations from roadside inspections, violations identified by FMSCA intervention and crash data reported by states.
All violations are classified into one of seven categories called BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories). The violations are weighed against their statistical likelihood and assigned a score. The scoring range is from 1 to 10 with the least likely at the lower end of the spectrum. As we move closer to 10, they are much more severe.
The scoring for each BASIC depends on its:
- Frequency – the number of violations or crashes in a time period.
- Severity – how bad the crashes were (damage caused).
- Recency – how long ago they occurred (recent crashes are given more weightage).
After determining a score, CSA rates a carrier in percentile from 0 to 100 by comparing a score to the score of its peer carriers. Lower numbers are better, percentile 0 being the best. As you move higher in the scale, worse performance is expected.
CSA uses the SMS to evaluate safety performance for commercial carriers and to monitor compliance issues over time: The measurement standard for SMS is:
- Identify the history of inspections, violations, and interventions.
- Identify which type of carriers require which type of intervention.
- ‘Unfit’ carriers that are unsafe to use are identified using a process called Safety Fitness Determination (SFD).
The need for intervention is seldom but carriers are identified by the States and FMSCA. The purpose is to provide early information about a pattern of behavior that may lead to safety issues. This allows carriers enough time to take a look at the specific problem, identify its source and rectify it. In some cases, CSA officials apply penalties as well.
The Benefit of Fleet Dash Cam
The CSA uses a number of airtight measures to gauge safety issues with carriers. However, sometimes carriers feel that CSA violation scores and penalties are unfairly dealt out. CSA penalties can hurt businesses in the short-run due to its monetary implications but a bad CSA score can have much more drastic effects like losing out on potential business opportunities or increased insurance premiums.
To protect carriers from unfair interventions, carriers are allowed to challenge any decisions in a court of law for up to two years from the date of intervention. However, it is difficult to challenge a State body without any witness or strong evidence. Our suggestion? Fleet Dash Cam.
Integrating a fleet dash cam in all carriers allows businesses to keep an eye on all assets and gather visual data that can be used as evidence.
Not Preventable Crash
This term basically stands for the driver is not at fault. The Crash Preventability Demonstration program outlines eight categories of crashes that eligible for a review. For a crash to be labeled ‘non preventable’ a carrier must submit a crash preventability request to the FMSCA. The request must include supporting evidence like documents, photos, videos or eye witness accounts to show that the crash could not have been avoided.
The video footage from a dash cam is the perfect supporting evidence. The scope of its benefits is not limited to FMSCA document verification. Using a dash cam as a part of an overall fleet management solution will protect carriers and allow them to be successful in the FMSCA’s strict protocols outlined in the CSA scoring process.
It provides accurate records of events as they occur. It provides context by showing what the driver was seeing during the incident. This allows fleets to make stronger cases in a court of law and any decisions that are returned in their favor not only improve CSA scores but also saves money on fines and insurance premiums.