The Compliance, Safety & Accountability (CSA) program operated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gives drivers a BASIC rank in 7 categories.
BASIC, which stands for Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories, assigns points based on the following categories:
- Controlled Substances & Alcohol
- Crash Indicator
- Driver Fitness
- Hazardous Materials Compliance
- Hours of Service Compliance
- Unsafe Driving
- Vehicle Maintenance
The current methodology, which the FMCSA last updated in July 2017, ranks drivers against one another in the various categories. It assigns a percentile between 0 and 100 with poor performance issues receiving higher scores. It also assigns weight to each safety event based on severity and how long ago it occurred. While it can be distressing to see your BASIC rank or percentile increase, it’s important to understand what happens next and take immediate action to correct the violations.
Receiving a warning letter is the first step.
When the FMCSA receives notification from its inspectors that a carrier’s BASIC score has increased, the agency sends a letter informing the driver. The letter will state the specific actions the carrier must take to bring his or her BASIC rank back under a preferred threshold.
Increased Roadside Enforcement, Offsite, and Onsite Inspections.
Once a motor carrier has a BASIC score above the threshold, the Inspection Selection System (ISS) that roadside inspectors use will flag that driver for inspection. The ISS will also inform inspectors which of the seven BASICs the driver scored high in and the specific circumstances that caused him or her to receive a violation.
During a focused offsite investigation, the inspector will confirm performance in areas of struggle with BASIC categories and check the driver’s compliance with requirements to improve. The program requires the motor carrier to submit any records the inspector requests and to respond to any follow-up requests he or she makes. The onsite investigation is much more focused than the general offsite investigation. It involves only the BASIC rank of the category in which the driver received a high score.
After a completed investigation, the next step in the intervention process is to create a cooperative safety plan if necessary. The carrier would be required to develop an independent safety plan and submit it to the FMCSA for approval. If the FMCSA finds the driver deficient in meeting compliance requirements, its next action would be to formally inform him or her of a specific violation.
Should all previous attempts at intervention with a motor carrier fail, the driver has a very high BASIC score, an earlier investigation determined more serious deficiencies, or the FMCSA has received an outside complaint about the driver, the process will move to a comprehensive on-site investigation. The FMCSA will issue a notice of penalty, claim, or settlement. It can also order the driver out of service.
Need to do a truck insurance review?
You already know how important a satisfactory BASIC score is to your career, but did you know it can influence your insurance rates as well? It’s always a good idea to make sure you’re getting the lowest possible rate and the best possible coverage by doing an insurance check-up. We invite you to complete a quote request form for the types of insurance you need, compare offers, and possibly sign on with a new insurer with better rates.