Impact on CSA Scores

Sections:

Why do I see inspections that are older than 24 months on my scorecard? 

Vigillo provides the full 36 months of driver data when viewing information for a specific driver, even though only the past 24 months is relevant from the carrier score perspective. We do this to provide customers with a view of both important carrier and driver data as described under CSA 2010. 

CSA 2010 contains two different scoring systems.

  • CSMS (Carrier Safety Management System)
    • 24 Months of Data. 
    • For all carrier-level information, the CSA 2010 Methodology requires the use of the past 24 months of data. This is what Vigillo uses to computer all carrier level information. 
  • DSMS (Driver Safety Management System)
    • 36 Months of Data. 
    • For individual driver scores, the CSA 2010 methodology requires the use of the past 36 months of data to calculate driver scores.  
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Why are Power Units used rather than Vehicle Miles Traveled in some BASICs?

I thought the FMCSA would be including Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for the Unsafe Driving and Crash Basics. Why are they still using Average Power Units (APU)?

The FMCSA is using BOTH Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and Average Power Units (APU) when generating the BASIC Measure. When calculating the BASIC Measure they use APU and the Utilization Factor. The Utilization Factor is a multiplier that adjusts the APU values based on the utilization in terms of VMT per APU where VMT data in the past 24 months are available. The Utilization Factor takes into account the Carrier Segment and VMT per APU.

Several options were considered for use as denominators for the BASIC measures in SMS. The options included PUs, VMT, and number of drivers. Pros and cons for each option were carefully considered. Ultimately, PUs was chosen as the denominator for: Unsafe Driving, and Crash Indicator since the data quality for PUs was found to be much higher than for VMT. Specifically, VMT Census information in FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS), from which SMS draws its data, is often missing or obsolete. 

While FMCSA is not opposed to using mileage data rather than PU data, the current status of the mileage data makes it difficult to consider VMT as a viable option for normalization in the SMS at this time. 

Source: FMCSA CSA Website

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Do tickets or warnings from driving personal vehicle impact CSA scores?

No. Tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal vehicles are State citations and do not count in the new measurement system. The CSA Safety Management System (SMS) only uses violations of FMCSA’s regulations and those regulations only apply to people driving commercial motor vehicles. In measuring on-road safety performance, SMS uses all safety-based violations documented at roadside inspections, as well as State-reported crashes. 

Source: FMCSA CSA Website

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Does an incorrect license number affect our CSA scores?

An incorrect driver license number will not affect your CSA scores at the carrier level. 

At the driver level, an incorrect driver license number will affect a specific driver's scores on a Vigillo scorecard. This is because all activities associated with a specific driver license number roll up to the same driver. If a driver has one inspection and violation listed under one driver license number and a different inspection and violation listed under another driver license number, your Vigillo scorecard will show these as two separate drivers. 

If you believe information provided by the FMCSA is incorrect, you can challenge using the FMCSA's DataQs system. More information is available here.

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How does CSA handle crashes when motor carriers are not at fault? 

The structure of the new Safety Management System (SMS) under CSA is such that crash accountability is not automatically determined or considered. In fact, recordable crash reports submitted to the FMCSA by the States do not include an accountability determination. Consequently, motor carriers are identified for possible intervention based on recordable crashes without consideration of accountability. This approach is taken because data analysis has historically shown that motor carriers that are involved in crashes are likely to be involved in more future crashes than the carriers that are not. Simply put, past crashes are a good predictor of future crashes.

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How do we switch between multiple DOTs in our scorecard? 

Does Vigillo cap inspections at 30 severity points per BASIC as CSA requires?

An incorrect driver license number will not affect your CSA scores at the carrier level. 

At the driver level, an incorrect driver license number will affect a specific driver's scores on a Vigillo scorecard. This is because all activities associated with a specific driver license number roll up to the same driver. If a driver has one inspection and violation listed under one driver license number and a different inspection and violation listed under another driver license number, your Vigillo scorecard will show these as two separate drivers. 

If you believe information provided by the FMCSA is incorrect, you can challenge using the FMCSA's DataQs system. More information is available here.

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How does the violation history of a driver impact carrier CSA scores?

Carriers are only evaluated on inspections and crashes associated with their own DOT number, so only violations that a driver receives while working for a carrier apply to that carrier’s Safety Management System (SMS) evaluation. Therefore, the driver’s violation history before the driver is hired and after the driver’s employment is terminated will not impact a carrier’s SMS results. However, even if a carrier terminates a driver, all of the driver’s crashes and inspection results that s/he received while operating for that carrier still apply to the carrier’s SMS evaluation for 24 months from the date of occurrence. Because the data is time-weighted, the effect of those occurrences on the carrier’s score will diminish over the course of the 24 months. 

Source: FMCSA CSA 2010 Website

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What role do clean inspections play in CSA?

A "clean inspection" is when a relevant roadside inspection results in no violations for a particular BASIC. A relevant inspection is when the roadside inspector reviewed a particular area for evidence of violations—not all inspection types/levels look at all areas. 

For example, a clean inspection will lower the associated BASIC measure when a carrier has no violations related to a driver inspection levels 1, 2, 3 or 6 in the following BASICs:

  • Fatigued Driving Hours-of-Service 
  • Driver Fitness 
  • Controlled Substance/Alcohol

Similarly, when a carrier has no BASIC violations related to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and/or Cargo-Related BASIC from a Vehicle Inspection—levels 1, 2, 5 or 6—this clean inspection will lower the associated BASIC measure. 

The North American Standard Driver/Vehicle Inspection Levels are explained on the FMCSA webpage.

The Fatigued Driving (HOS), Driver Fitness, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Controlled Substance/Alcohol BASICs all use relevant inspections as a denominator for assessment of carrier performance. For example, any time a driver is examined in an inspection, there is an opportunity for a violation that would impact the Driver Fitness BASIC. Since there is an opportunity for a violation, it is considered a "relevant inspection" for that BASIC. An inspection in which a driver was looked at with no Driver Fitness violations recorded i.e. a clean inspection would have a positive impact on the Driver Fitness BASIC.

Put simply, clean inspections help prevent the Fatigued Driving (HOS), Driver Fitness, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Controlled Substance/Alcohol BASICs from becoming deficient, or help to improve those BASICs if they are already deficient.

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How does increased number of power units affect Scorecards? 

A change in a carrier's number of Power Units (PUs) applies to CSA through the change it makes in a carrier's AVERAGE number of PUs. Any change to the number of PUs on your MCS-150 would have a limited effect, initially, because CSA looks at Average Power Units (APU). Average number of PUs is the average of number of MCS-150 reported number of PUs from three time periods: currently, 6-months ago, and 18-months ago.

All other things being equal, increasing the number of PUs would likely improve your BASIC measures for the two BASICs that use APU:

  • Crash Indicator
  • Unsafe Driving

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How does driver behavior impact my scores?

Read more about this in Motor Carrier FAQs »

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