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New rules from the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) mean that carriers who believed they were subject to one set of CSA thresholds may, in fact, be subject to more stringent hazmat regulations and CSA scores.

Let's take a look at all this confusing information, and find a few ways to do something about it today. (Hint: Providing hazmat driver training to help drivers understand hazmat carrier regulations would be a good step!)


Fact 1: Hazmat Carriers Have to Run Safer Under CSA

Everyone knows how CSA scores work: The higher your score, the less safe you are. And that leads to higher insurance premiums, your fleet being put under extra scrutiny by police and inspectors, and all sorts of other unpleasantness. There's a "threshold" CSA score. If your fleet is above that score — based on violations, infractions, and inspections — you're put on notice and the FMCSA will start to take corrective action.


  Cargo Hazmat Passenger
Unsafe Driving 72% 67% 50%
Fatigued Driving 72% 67% 50%
Driver Fitness 77% 72% 55%
Drugs & Alcohol 77% 72% 55%
Vehicle Maintenance 77% 72% 55%
Cargo-Related 77% 72% 55%
Crash Indicator 72% 67% 50%
The key CSA takeaway: different types of fleets have different alert scores.


Fact 2: Inspections and Reviews Now Determine if You're a Hazmat Carrier

In the past, YOU determined your hazmat status by how you registered yourself with the DOT every two years. Today, the FMCSA will determine if you're a hazmat carrier based on:

  • An inspection over the past 24 months where your truck was carrying a placardable quantity of hazardous materials.
  • A FMCSA review or safety audit over the past  24 months where the motor carrier was carrying placardable quantity of hazardous materials.
  • You've got a hazmat permit.

Fact 3: You can Check Your Hazmat Status Online Right Now

  1. Go to the SMS Website at
  2. Enter your U.S. DOT or MC number on the right-hand side of the page.
  3. Scroll down to the registration information at the bottom of the page.
  4. View the item entitled "Subject to Placardable Hazardous Material Threshold" where you see either a "Yes" or a "No."
  5. If the answer is Yes, click on the link. A table will explain the reasons why you're now in the hazmat threshold group.

Fact 4: If You're Now In the Hazmat Threshold Group, Your CSA "Limits" Just Changed

Remember that chart at the top? If you went from cargo (OK, technically the group is called "Other") to hazmat, you now have different CSA limits. A Driver Fitness score of 73% would not have triggered any official action by the FMCSA before, but it will if you're designated a hazmat carrier. That's why you need to care.

For more detailed information on the HM regulations and how to comply with them, motor carriers should visit FMCSA’s Website at the following link:

Finally, we can help train your drivers and managers on CSA. Training in all the basics will lower your CSA score over time, and show the FMCSA you're taking things seriously. Visit our page on hazmat driver training to learn more.

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