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How can I improve my Vehicle Maintenance BASIC?

Proper vehicle maintenance is one of seven factors that inspectors from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) program evaluate to assign scores for the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) initiative. The goal of the program is to prevent accidents, spillage, and other events that endanger public safety. We’ll go over how you can improve your Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.

Examples of violations and scoring factors for Vehicle Maintenance BASICs

Here are some of the most common things inspectors look for:

  • Condition of tires
  • Reflectors that work properly
  • Condition of the vehicle’s brakes
  • Turn signals in working order
  • Improper retention of loads or cargo
  • Not keeping accurate pre-trip inspection reports

Depending on the severity of the violation and the scoring assigned to it, an inspector has the authority to put your vehicle out of service until you repair it to the program’s satisfaction. Inspectors consider the following factors when determining how to score your violations and prioritize you for intervention from the FMCSA:

  • How many recent safety events you have had, including crashes and violations relating to the vehicle maintenance BASIC
  • The severity of your crashes or violations
  • How recently your violations or adverse events took place

Best practices for keeping BASIC Scores low

Keeping your vehicle maintenance score low is challenging but not impossible. By doing so, you will keep America’s roads safer – and you may enjoy lower commercial trucking rates as well. Here are some tips for lowering the vehicle maintenance BASIC score for all drivers:

  • Managers should set a good example by encouraging drivers to inspect their vehicles daily and repair any known problems immediately.
  • Make sure you have a system in place such as submission of Driver Vehicle Inspection Records (DVIR) or an automated email after a driver has had an accident or another safety event.
  • Remember that you have the right to appeal any violation assigned by CSA if you feel it is unwarranted. The more proof you have, such as a record of speed at the time a driver received a speeding ticket, the easier it will be to challenge a violation and have it removed from a driver’s record.
  • Managers should implement a preventive maintenance program and ensure that every driver follows it.
  • Establish and enforce a written disciplinary procedure that describes progressive actions against drivers who do not follow safety protocols. This typically starts with writing up a driver and requiring him or her to check in with supervisors more often and can go all the way up to termination of employment.
  • Consider offering monetary incentives to drivers with the best DVIRs.
  • Ensure that all drivers routinely complete DVIRs and submit a copy of each roadside inspection report to management within 24 hours.
  • Encourage drivers to monitor their own scores in all seven BASIC categories and take responsibility for keeping them as low as possible.

Complete regular truck insurance check-ups too.

If you already have low BASIC scores, you could be getting a better rate for your commercial truck insurance. You could also need additional types of insurance you don’t currently carry. We invite you to learn more about the types of coverages you may need and then complete an online quote form to receive several competitive quotes. Get started with big rig insurance quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.