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CSA Safety Measurement System

How the CSA Safety measurement system works

Carrier rankings are calculated from information collected during on-road safety inspections and state-reported crash records. These data are used to rank a carrier's safety performance relative to its peers in six Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) as well as crash involvement (Crash Indicator). In addition, violations deemed “driver caused” are compiled and used in a separate system to display a driver’s performance history.

BASICs were developed under the premise that crashes can be traced to the behavior of motor carriers and/or drivers. Roadside inspection violation data is divided into one of six BASIC behaviors. Poor performance rankings in any one BASIC, in combination, or just using Crash Indicator data can lead to Law Enforcement intervention.


The BASIC Definitions

BASIC Definition
Unsafe Driving Operation of CMVs in a dangerous or careless manner.
Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the Hours-Of-Service (HOS) regulations.
Driver Fitness Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications.
Controlled Substances / Alcohol Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Vehicle Maintenance Failure to properly maintain a CMV.
Cargo Related Failure to properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo and unsafe handling of hazardous materials on a CMV.
Crash Indicator Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity.


 Steps used to calculate a carrier’s performance score in each BASIC

Step 1.  All relevant inspection, violation, and crash data is used to create a safety event (not just Out of Service Violations).

Step 2.  Each Carrier’s violations are then classified into a BASIC.

Step 3.  Every violation has been assigned a severity weight score. The severity score is multiplied by a time weight ranking, and then normalized to form a Carrier measurement score in each BASIC. (Normalizing is a method of equaling out differences in operations among Carriers.) (Time weighting of violations 6 months old and newer are assigned a weight of 3, 6-18 months old are assigned a 2, violations 18-24 months old are assigned a time weight of 1.  As the violation ages, the less scoring value each contributes.)

Step 4.  Based on a comparison of each Carrier’s BASIC measured score to other Carriers similar in operations, a final rank and percentile are assigned. This rank and percentile is what is used by Law Enforcement to determine its intervention process.

Step 5*.  Step 5 is a proposed additional step that has yet to be approved.  Step 5 will take the scoring of each basic and translate it into an overall Carrier Rating of one of the following: Continue to Operate, Marginal or Unfit.

* Without having the “normalizing” algorithm or the data on similar carriers used in steps 3 and 4, it is impossible to duplicate the CSA scoring methodology.  If you would like to view the full document of the Safety Measurement System Methodology, click here.


Frequency of calculating carriers' performance scores

A Carrier’s rankings and percentiles are recalculated each month using the latest 24 months of roadside inspection data.  A Driver performance history is made up of violations deemed “driver caused” and stays in the Driver’s history for 36 months.


Related Links

  • To view the severity rankings each violation has been assigned and to see which violations have been deemed “driver caused” review our Safety Measurement System Violation Table.
  • For more information on what you can do to better manage your CSA score click here.