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How can a carrier improve in the Unsafe Driving BASIC?

Unsafe driving is one of the seven categories of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) created and monitored by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). BASIC uses data from all seven categories to rank drivers against others who have a similar number of safety events. These can include violations, accidents, or poor inspection results.

What is covered under the Unsafe Driving BASIC?

Under FMCSA Regulations 392 and 397, motor carriers must operate their vehicles in a safe manner to ensure the well-being of the public. The following are some of the factors that inspectors consider when assigning a score:

  • General careless or reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Failing to signal lane changes
  • Distracted driving

These are just a handful of factors that can cause your percentile ranking to increase for the Unsafe Driving BASIC. The inspector should always provide a reason for your score along with details of how you can monitor it over time.

How to find out your standing in all BASIC Categories

The Safety Management System (SMS) of the FMCSA records all information pertaining to the BASIC program. You can check your score in Unsafe Driving or any of the other six categories by logging onto the SMS website to view your percentile rankings. If the agency has concerns about your score in a specific BASIC category, you will see a warning symbol next to it. This means that the FMCSA could prioritize you for interventions such as a warning letter or increased roadside inspections.

Best practices for improving your Unsafe Driving BASIC Score

You have training documentation in your vehicle when undergoing an inspection. You will also need a written route plan if you transport specific categories of explosives. The Safety Inspector (SI) may use these documents to help assign a severity level to your specific performance issue.

The most important thing you can do to avoid a poor score in this BASIC is to understand what the FMCSA considers safe driving behavior. These behaviors are both stated and implied. For example, neglecting to wear a seatbelt is unsafe driving even though it only affects your own safety. Additionally, know that the score affects you most in the first 24 months.

Motor carriers with non-compliant drivers must educate them on how to meet standards and make their expectations clear when it comes to safety. If a driver has a question the motor carrier can’t answer, the best solution is to direct him or her to the CSA or FMCSA websites. Drivers should review information from their inspection reports and take immediate action to correct any violations.

Managers of commercial trucking companies should also review internal policies, communication, training, and motivation strategies to see whether the employer might have contributed to the problem. Finally, managers should ensure that drivers keep their MC-150 registration forms updated.

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