The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains records on seven levels of unsafe driving behavior that it uses to rank motor carriers. The name of the system is BASIC, which stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category. The Unsafe Driving BASIC specifically addresses FMCSA 49 CFR Parts 397 to evaluate motor carriers in several safety categories. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in monetary fines or even the FMCSA shutting down a trucking business. So, it’s important to know how your business stacks up and how to improve if needed.
Categories covered by the Unsafe Driving BASIC
Your FMCSA BASICs score is determined by a routine review of the following information:
- Controlled Substances and Alcohol
- Crash Indicator
- Driver Fitness
- Hazardous Materials Compliance
- Hours of Service Compliance
- Unsafe Driving Behavior
- Vehicle Maintenance
The scoring in each of these categories except Crash Indicator are available to the public on the FMCSA website. However, according to FMCSA standards, your Crash Indicator score takes into account any event in the past 24 months that resulted in fatalities, the need to treat another driver’s injury away from the accident scene, or physical damage extensive enough to require a tow. Typically, each public report also includes the date of the last investigation, how many motor carriers the FMCSA reviewed, and the number of inspections with and without safety violations.
How the FMCSA evaluates crashes and violations
When the FMCSA receives notification of a commercial vehicle crash or violation, it assigns the issue to one of the seven categories listed above. It then assigns a weight to the crash or violation based on severity and time. This system assigns more value to crashes and violations more severe in nature and less value to older crashes and violations.
The FMCSA uses a severity scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most severe. It also views each safety violation in terms of future crash risk. That means violations such as reckless driving may receive a higher number on the severity scale than an action such as changing lanes improperly. This is because overall reckless driving is more likely to result in a future crash than a one-time lane changing incident.
Additionally, the FMCA assigns two extra points to your Unsafe Driving BASIC if the nature of the violation was severe enough for the motor carrier to receive an out-of-service order. Severe crashes that result in fatality or the need to treat an injured person away from the scene can also receive twice the points of an accident that only caused property damage. The FMCSA then looks at how long ago the crash took place and assigns points as they routinely evaluate your company’s record.
These are just some criteria the FMCSA uses when determining safety ratings. The process can become quite complex, especially for new commercial truckers. However, the FMCSA website makes it easy to access public information on your company’s rating so that you can self-monitor and improve.
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