The CSA/SMS Program Continues to Evolve

224732 12/10/12

Since it rolled out two years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance-Safety-Accountability program (CSA) has gone through many well publicized changes. Trucking companies will notice some additional updates starting this month. For the most part, these are well defined for users when they access their own Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores. Descriptions of the changes are provided below:


The old Cargo BASIC covered Haz Mat and cargo securement issues. It has been changed to focus solely on Haz Mat violations and is now called the Haz Mat Compliance BASIC. Like the old Cargo BASIC, it will not be viewable to the public.

The new BASIC will focus primarily on those who regularly haul Haz Mat loads requiring placards. While most trucking companies will fall outside of this group, those who are still in the category will likely see more volatility in their scores due to the smaller base group.

Maintenance BASIC

The cargo securement violations from the old Cargo BASIC will be moved to the Maintenance BASIC. It’s already a hot spot for many trucking companies and that won’t get any better now that it has 110 new violations.

Fatigued Driving BASIC

This will now be known as the Hours of Service or HOS BASIC. Some minor tweaking to the severity weighting for various violations has also taken place.


The FMCSA will now distinguish between crashes with injuries and those with fatalities. The FMCSA has not yet come up with a way to determine accountability, so trucking companies will still be penalized for being involved in a crash that they did not cause and could not have prevented.  That debate will continue. This BASIC will still be hidden from view for the public.

Miscellaneous Changes

-Low-speed speeding violations (5 mph and under) have been eliminated from CSA scoring.

-Severity weightings for many of the 900+ violations and some terminology have been tweaked. These changes all make good sense and for the most part will be transparent to users.

For additional information on this topic, Sentry encourages you to visit

Dave Gibson
Director of Safety Services – Transportation
Sentry Insurance

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