Driver Safety Enforcement: What Motor Carriers Need to Know

Driver Safety Enforcement: What Motor Carriers Need to Know

Driver safety enforcement impacts both drivers and carriers. Research, such as the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, has shown that unsafe driver behavior is a major contributor to commercial motor vehicle (CMV)-related crashes. Other studies indicate that a small segment of the driver population is involved in a disproportionately large number of crashes. As a result, under Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) expands its approach by identifying and addressing drivers with poor safety performance histories during interventions with motor carriers.


  • Directly monitors the safety and performance of individual drivers
  • Addresses problem drivers based on their records across multiple employers
  • Holds both motor carriers and drivers responsible for safety and performance

How Does the CSA Driver Enforcement Process Work?

The driver enforcement process provides FMCSA with the tools to identify problem drivers and to verify and address the issues. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) includes a tool, called the Driver SMS, which enables Safety Investigators (SIs) to evaluate roadside performance of drivers across employers over a three-year period. Using this system, SIs can identify drivers with overall poor safety histories who work for carriers that have been identified as requiring a CSA investigation. If the investigation results verify the driver violation(s), FMCSA takes an enforcement action against that driver, such as a Notice of Violation or a Notice of Claim.

CSA Driver Safety Enforcement Approach

  • Under CSA, driver enforcement occurs as part of motor carrier investigations and focuses on driver enforcement for serious rule violations, such as:

                 – Driving while disqualified

                 – Driving without a valid Commercial Driver's License – Making a false entry on a medical certificate

                 – Committing numerous Hours-of-Service violations

  • Enforcement action will be taken directly against the driver for these violations. If the carrier is also determined to be a responsible party, it may also receive enforcement action.
  • It is important to clarify that CSA does not rate individual CMV drivers.

Making Carriers Aware of Driver Safety Performance

The Pre-Employment Screening Program is an FMCSA program mandated by Congress that is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual CMV drivers’ safety violation and crash history as a pre-employment condition. The program is voluntary and is not part of CSA. Motor carriers may request a driver’s information for the purpose of pre-employment screening only. The driver must provide written consent. Individual drivers may request their own driver information record at any time. The electronic profiles contain three years of inspection data and five years of crash data. However, the database does not include conviction data. There is a fee for this service for both drivers and carriers.

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