The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration operates the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program to ensure that all carriers are abiding by specific standards. The program essentially monitors seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Below is some information to help you understand these categories, as well as the standard you must meet to avoid intervention under the CSA program.
About BASIC categories
The FMSCA’s assessment of BASIC categories is based on percentiles. When a carrier exceeds a certain percentile threshold within a given category, the FMSCA will suspect that the motor carrier has a safety performance problem. As a result, the FMSCA will usually seek to intervene. Initial interventions typically include warning letters and/or an investigation of the issue.
The seven BASIC categories the FMSCA monitors include:
1. Unsafe Driving
The category of “Unsafe Driving” is based on the history of dangerous driving behaviors, such as documented cases of speeding, seatbelt violations, driver inattention, improper lane change, and reckless driving.
2. Crash Indicator
This BASIC category derives its percentile from the carrier’s history of involvement in crashes.
3. Hour-of-Service Compliance
The Hours-of-Service Compliance category is based on the carrier’s history of noncompliance with hours-of-service regulations, including the maintenance of accurate logbooks.
4. Vehicle Maintenance
Carriers will score too high in the category of “Vehicle Maintenance” if they have a history of defects, light issues, brake problems and/or a failure to make required repairs.
5. Controlled Substances/Alcohol
A history of drivers being cited for alcohol use and/or possession of alcohol will lead to a poor score in this BASIC category.
6. Hazardous Materials Compliance
Violations that could lead to a higher percentile in this category include failing to placard appropriately, using improper packaging, or traveling with leaking containers.
7. Driver Fitness
Percentiles in this final category are determined by several driver fitness factors, including drivers found medically unfit to operate a commercial vehicle and drivers operating without a valid license.
How are percentiles calculated?
The FMCSA collects information about carriers using the Safety Measurement System, which analyzes data from several sources. Sources include investigation results, crash reports from the last two years, and records of vehicle or driver violations. To calculate the percentile for an individual carrier, the FMCSA groups carriers together based on the number of safety events and then assigns them a percentile ranking based on their performance in each BASIC category.
The percentile thresholds that trigger an FMSCA intervention differ based on the type of motor carrier, as well as the BASIC category. The current thresholds are as follows:
General – Intervention is triggered above the 65th percentile threshold for the categories of Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, and Hours-of-service Compliance. Interventions are triggered above the 80th percentile for Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Driver Fitness.
Passenger Carrier – Intervention is triggered above the 50th percentile threshold for the categories of Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, and Hours-of-service Compliance. Interventions are triggered above the 65th percentile for Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Driver Fitness.
Hazmat – Interventions are triggered above the 60th percentile threshold for the categories of Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, and Hours-of-service Compliance. Interventions are triggered above the 75th percentile for Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Driver Fitness.
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