CSA 2010 driver profiles are anything but an open book

By Jami Jones
senior editor


You sit down at your safety director’s desk and he keeps pointing at a piece of paper and talking about your CSA 2010 score.

There’s one big problem with this scenario: Not your company, not the general public, not even you have access to your driver profile in the CSA 2010 system.

Information about drivers is collected in the Driver Safety Management System – called the DSMS by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or the driver profile by regular folks on the road. It’s the counterpart to the Carrier Safety Management System, or CSMS and carrier profile.

Both systems collect information from roadside inspections and crash reports. Any violations or citations noted on those inspection and crash reports are collected for use in the CSA 2010 systems.

Only violations and citations that FMCSA has decided drivers are responsible for are collected in the driver profile.

But the question still remains: What the heck is this driver profile used for and who has access?

The driver profile is used for enforcement on drivers by enforcement personnel. The actual CSMS document with all of your info is not available to your motor carrier, the general public, or even you.

To be crystal clear on this, these are FMCSA’s exact words – with the bold type and all – about the DSMS from the CSA 2010 methodology:

“Currently, the DSMS results are being used strictly as an investigative tool for law enforcement and are not available to carriers, drivers or the public.

That’s pretty clear. Your motor carrier does not have your CSA 2010 “score” as determined by FMCSA.

That still doesn’t change the fact that your motor carrier’s safety director is waving something around that has some sort of score that rates your record of compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations.

Another simple truth that all drivers need to understand is, your compliance with the regs has not ever been a mystery to FMCSA or your motor carrier.

Even before CSA 2010 was dreamed up, the industry was tracked through SafeStat. Motor carriers could log in to their SafeStat profiles and drill down through inspections and see which drivers were racking up tons of violations and citations.

SafeStat focused enforcement on out-of-service violations, but the info was all there.

That still has not changed.

Through the CSA 2010 carrier profile they can see what violations and citations you have received while you are driving for them.

FMCSA has also added a way for motor carriers to get a feel for your compliance before they hire you. That is through the Pre-Employment Screening Program. That program also collects data from all your roadside inspections and crash reports.

So between a PSP report and your track record while employed by motor carrier XYZ, your safety director could have quite a bit of data collected on you.

Third-party software providers that sell “driver management” software have tweaked their programs based on what they know about CSA 2010 methodology and can take all of that data that your motor carrier has on you and plug it into their system.

Remember, the third-party software providers are considered the public, so they are not getting your information from FMCSA. They are getting it solely from your motor carrier.

Now many of these software providers are using the data collected from all of their client motor carriers. So they may have a ton of data. Problem is, it’s probably just a small percentage of all the data out there.

When you think of all of the CDL holders – which by some estimates can be 4 million to 6 million – that’s a lot of data compiled by FMCSA. There’s no way software companies, even ones with mega carriers as clients, can duplicate the sheer mass of FMCSA’s data.

So, even though your company doesn’t have your CSA 2010 “score,” and what it has may or may not even be close to how FMCSA sees your compliance, can you be fired?

The truth is: Yes.

Motor carriers have the right to set their safety policies any way they want to. You can bet that their insurance carriers play a role in deciding how much “bad behavior” they will tolerate out of a driver.

Signing those paychecks allows motor carriers to set their own rules. It’s that simple.

CSA 2010 has a lot of companies and drivers alike running scared. The snake oil salesmen aren’t helping anything with their claims of duplicating CSA 2010 scores and compliance ratings.

That confusion has far too many companies and drivers missing the point of the program and the simplest way to avoid unfortunate enforcement interactions with FMCSA.

It all boils down to one fact: You won’t have any problems if you will just keep your nose clean and comply with the regulations. LL