What Is the FMCSA CSA Program? | Episode 41

Over the next three episodes, I am going to take a deep dive into the FMCSA’s safety program. For most people, compliance with all the FMCSA’s rules and regulations is a daunting task that many are too intimidated to handle.

I think there would be a lot of really good people who would make the jump to being an independent owner operator if this one thing did not seem so overwhelming. I hope these next few episodes can show people that it’s not too hard, and they can do it if they are willing to learn and pay a little bit of attention to detail.

What To Expect From Episode 41

CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) is the program the FMCSA uses to monitor the safety of trucking companies. During this episode I am going to explain how it works, the most important details and things to avoid that will get you in trouble.

The CSA Program is designed to do four things:

  1. Identify motor carriers that pose a safety hazard.
  2. Intervene with identified motor carriers so they can correct safety problems.
  3. Assign motor carriers safety ratings.
  4. Prohibit motor carriers that receive an “Unsatisfactory” safety rating from operating CMVs.

Craig and I will cover them all in detail during this episode, but here are some basics.

How Does the FMCSA Intervene?

  1. Warning letter
  2. Targeted roadside inspections
      • Know your Inspection Selection Score, it’s in the FMCSA Portal. Watch this video to learn where to find it.


  3. Offsite Investigation
  4. Onsite Focused Investigation
    • Conditional or Unsatisfactory, but not satisfactory
  5. Onsite Comprehensive Investigation
    • Satisfactory, conditional unsatisfactory
  6. Notice of Violation, violations must be addressed with:
  7. Notice of claim, civil penalties
  8. Unfit/Operations Out-of-service order

What Are the FMCSA Safety Ratings?

  • Unrated (Not an official rating)
  • Satisfactory
  • Conditional
  • Unsatisfactory

What Happens When You Get an Unsatisfactory Safety Rating?

Plain and simple, you are placed out of service and cannot operate Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV). You have to fail on multiple levels to get to this point.

Listen to the Full Episode

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[…] company’s CSA score measures how safe a motor carrier company is while the company’s drivers are out doing their […]