How Well do you Know CSA?

Take the quiz and see if you can score higher than an average driver or enforcement official.

January 2015, - Department

by John Simms of HNI

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Considering the regulatory environment in which transportation firms do business is miles from black and white, it’s no surprise that both drivers and enforcement personnel alike often are confused by the ins and outs of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) program and its relationship to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations.

Because of this, the American Transportation Research Institute surveyed truck drivers and law enforcement on their knowledge of CSA and how it relates to the FMCSRs.

On the 14-question quiz, drivers answered an average of only six items correctly, and law enforcement personnel answered an average of only nine items correctly. A question over who has access to official CSA scores was trickiest for both.

Test your CSA knowledge by taking the quiz below. Learning where your weak spots are will help your organization get more compliant.

1. When a trucking company hires a new driver, the company inherits that driver’s past violations.
a. True
b. False

2. A trucking company can remove a bad
driver’s inspection and crash data from its
Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores
by terminating the driver.
a. True
b. False

3. Which BASIC scores are publicly
a. Hours of Service compliance scores
b. Crash indicator scores
c. Driver fitness scores
d. Controlled substance/alcohol scores
e. Hazardous materials scores
f. Vehicle maintenance scores
g. Unsafe driver scores
h. All of the above EXCEPT hazardous
material scores
i. All of the above EXCEPT hazardous
materials scores and crash indicator

4. State-issued convictions are part of the SMS formula for calculating BASIC scores.
a. True
b. False

5. CSA gives FMCSA the authority to revoke a driver’s CDL.
a. True
b. False
6. As part of CSA, FMCSA evaluates the physical fitness of drivers and penalizes drivers with high body mass indexes (BMIs).
a. True
b. False

7. The content of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) has changed as a result of CSA.
a. True
b. False

8. Under CSA, only out-of-service (OOS) violations are counted in the measurement system.
a. True
b. False

9. Clean roadside inspections can actually improve a driver or carrier’s CSA scores.
a. True
b. False

10. Who has access to official driver
CSA scores?
a. All trucking companies
b. The company that currently employs
the driver
c. The driver him/herself
d. FMCSA enforcement staff during
motor carrier investigations
f. Insurance companies
g. Third-party logistics companies
h. Third-party vendors who market driver scorecards

11. CSA scores are weighted by:
a. Time (older events are weighted less
than recent ones)
b. Severity (events closely linked with crash risk or crash severity are weighted more)
c. Nothing
d. Time and severity

12. Which of the following does the FMCSA
take into account in order to compare among
carriers with different levels of exposure in
various BASICs?
a. Number of power units
b. Vehicle miles traveled (VMTs)
c. Number of inspections
d. All 3
f. Number of inspections and number
of power units

13. CSA takes into consideration tickets and warnings drivers receive when operating their personal vehicles.
a. True
b. False

14. Under CSA, BASIC scores higher than the specified threshold:
a. Identify potentially at-risk carriers and help prioritize them for intervention
b. Indicate that a carrier is unsafe and should not be used
c. Accompany fines if the scores do not
drop lower than the threshold in a
pre-specified amount of time

ANSWERS: 1. B, 2. B, 3. I, 4. B, 5. B, 6. B, 7. B, 8. B, 9. A, 10. D, 11. D, 12. D, 13. B, 14. A

HNI is a non-traditional insurance brokerage and business advisory firm. This article originally appeared on HNI’s “Steal These Ideas” blog. This article was authored under the guidance and editorial standards of HDT's editors to provide useful information to our readers.


  1. 1. Jeff Fitzgerald [ February 19, 2015 @ 01:05PM ]

    I got 10 correct and could have been 12. 1 ? I was between 2 answers and the other you have wrong. Clean inspections do nothing for CSA scores and know that right from the FMCSA. Myself and others were trying to figure that out and how if any related to a better score. So I got frustrated and called them and asked. They said that if it did it would not be a true score for violations. Another words it would off balance the system. The other issue they has was how much credit would a carrier get. Plus your ? is wrong also, drivers do not get scored.

  2. 2. Richelle Nazaroff [ January 21, 2016 @ 11:47AM ]

    Excellent observation.. I address the DQ program for 500 commercial drivers. We had a 2015 DOT audit and I address this very question. The MODOT Inspector stated that the FMCSA scoring was based on "VIOLATIONS" only. He stated "initially there was a reason for the stop, maintenance issue, Unsafe driving Etc. All Company's having CMV's on the roadways are expected to have all equipment violation free "NO EXCEPTIONS" with this he gave me a lecture on Pre and Post trip inspections. Never the less we got through the audit no violations or penalties, first time in the history of our company. Please correct this, we are having a hard enough time understanding all the changes FMCSA & DOT are shelling out, we don't need to double check this rule if it should come up within our company.


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