The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains seven categories in its Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) program to provide standards in which to evaluate driver safety. Driver Fitness is one of the seven BASICs. Inspectors rank drivers who have a similar number of safety events such as crashes, violations, or lack of proper recordkeeping, against each other to determine a percentile rank.
The purpose of this BASIC is to ensure that all commercial drivers are physically and mentally fit to handle the responsibility of commercial driving. Drivers must meet specific training, medical, and experience criteria for the Driver Fitness portion of BASIC. Common Driver Fitness violations include having a medical condition that decreases the ability to operate the vehicle safely and not possessing the correct and valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) required.
How to receive a good score for the Driver Fitness BASIC
A safety investigator from the FMCSA will ask for the following documents at a minimum:
- Medical certificates or clearance to drive with a specific medical condition
- Past employment applications or resumes for driving positions
- A copy of your driving record with the state along with annual driving record reviews
- Current commercial driver’s license
The inspector assigned to you may require you to produce additional documentation. Be certain to ask your employer or review information posted on the BASIC program on the FMCSA website if you have additional concerns.
How to improve your Driver Fitness BASIC Score
One of the simplest things you can do to ensure you don’t receive a high percentile rank for FMCSA intervention is to always carry the required documentation with you. This should include your CDL and medical clearance card at a minimum. If you transport hazardous materials, don’t forget to carry your hazmat endorsement as well. Keep in mind that each of these documents expires with no grace period available. That means it’s up to you to track the expiration dates and renew each document.
If you do receive a citation for a traffic offense, make sure it’s one that doesn’t disqualify you from driving. You can find the list of driving offenses in §391.15 or §383.51 in the FMCSA Regulation Handbook.
You must complete formal training for commercial drivers if you have less than one year of experience. The FMCSA also requires hazmat training for drivers transporting hazardous materials. Be sure to keep proof of your training with you when you drive.
We also recommend that you attempt to stay as physically fit as possible. Although this can present a challenge when you spend hours sitting down driving, be sure to take advantage of rest breaks and times at home to engage in physical exercise. This is the best way to ensure that you can continue to pass the required Department of Transportation (DOT) physical.
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