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The FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) assesses Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) severity points for violations found at road inspections, traffic ticket convictions, and accidents. Once assessed, these severity points are placed in one of the seven CSA Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category or BASICs. The objective of the program according to the FMCSA is to prioritize carriers and drivers for intervention or increased inspections.

Did you ever wonder why you get pulled into a roadside inspection when that truck or bus barreling down the highway spewing smoke gets to pass the chicken coop without a glance? You have a clean driving record, yet you continually get called in for inspection. It could be that your carrier’s DOT number has been flagged by the Inspection Selection System (ISS). 


The seven BASIC categories of violations are:

  1. Unsafe Driving
  2. Collision Indicators
  3. HOS Compliance
  4. Maintenance
  5. Alcohol & Controlled Substance
  6. Hazardous Material (HazMat) Compliance
  7. Driver Fitness

The CSA severity points for convictions, roadside inspection violations, and accidents go into the applicable category. When another similar point or points are received, a time weight multiplier gets added. Large carriers are much more likely to receive multiple violations in the same category due to the exposure of numerous drivers. 

Therefore, the severity points get multiplied by the time weight of three for similar breaches within six months. The multiplier is reduced to two after six months up to a year. Severity points remain at face value if there are no violations until the two-year mark for carriers or three years for drivers. Drivers are advised to check their Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) on DataQs for accuracy periodically. 

CSA Points & the ISS

The ISS is a selection process for roadside inspections. The total of CSA severity points multiplied by the time weights is averaged to come up with a percentile 1-100. Carriers are given leniency based on their exposure, which is determined by the number of trucks, miles driven, inspection history, safety performance, collision history, safety management, and driver history. 

Percentiles in the 75-100 range get recommended for inspection and possible intervention, 50-74 might be worth a quick look, and 1-49 means no inspection needed. That is why it is vital to all CDL holders to dispute roadside inspection violations and traffic tickets.

Those CSA 10-Point Maximum Violations

The maximum CSA severity point value you can receive for any violation is ten. Those ten-point max violations are:

  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding 15 mph over the limit
  • Any speeding conviction in a construction zone
  • Driving with an Out-of-Service (OOS) order
  • Drug use or possession 
  • Truck or Bus driving while fatigued or ill
  • Cellphone use
  • Texting while driving
  • Carrier requires or allows cellphone use while driving
  • Driving after having any alcohol within four hours of the trip start

Bus Only

  • Towing or pushing a bus with passengers onboard
  • Baggage or freight interferes with safe operation
  • Exit obstructed
  • Luggage or freight poses a threat to passenger’s safety

Loads and Hazardous Material (HazMat) 10-Point CSA Violations

There are more than 100 ten-point violations for cargo and HazMat. We will not list all of these, but here are a few of the most common. The thing with cargo violations is that the inspector or law enforcement officer (LEO) who judges your load unsafe for further movement can give you an OOS order until it is corrected. 

Most common violations concerning cargo and HazMat:

  • Unsecured load or vehicle equipment
  • HazMat container or package not secured
  • Failing to check cargo periodically
  • Flags missing on protruding loads
  • Missing placards
  • Improper tie-downs
  • Cargo not inspected within 50 miles of starting a trip

Whenever a driver gets a ticket or roadside violation for one of these, it is crucial they seek legal advice.

Speak with Traffic Attorneys Who Regularly Appear in Mojave, CA, Traffic Court

When you get stopped and ticketed out there on 58, call Bigger & Harman at (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755. We routinely represent CDL holders in Mojave Traffic Court and across Central and Southern California. Our priority is ensuring the legal rights of drivers.   

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