Regular maintenance for your trucks and fleet vehicles does more than just prevent you from experiencing emergency repair work costs and downtime; it enhances your safety on the roadways, too. As a trucker or an organization that owns trucks, if you perform deliveries or shipping services, you are also required to comply with key maintenance and safety regulations from the FMCSA. One way to track how well you are doing is the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC program; learning more about this safety program will help keep your drivers and others safe on the roads and ensure you remain in compliance.
What are BASICs for commercial vehicles?
BASIC is an acronym that stands for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category. BASICs are designed to help measure your company’s overall safety and provide you with insight into how your team is doing. The BASIC measurement was created by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which uses several metrics to rank trucking businesses for safety performance on the roadways.
What does the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC cover?
One of the categories of a BASIC score is for Vehicle Maintenance. This category is designed to ensure that your loaded vehicle can safely navigate the road. By conducting regular roadside inspections on your CMV, the FMCSA is able to assign a vehicle maintenance score and an overall BASICs profile specific to your organization. These scores and your overall safety profile can be accessed publicly through the Safety Measurement System section of the FMCSA site.
The high cost of skimping on maintenance.
Of course, the greatest concern for most commercial trucking businesses is safety. Your trucks and drivers represent your business every time they roll out of your lot. If they injure someone, injure themselves, or cause property damage, no one wins. Your business will be disrupted, your brand perception will drop, and you’ll be open to fines, lawsuits and more. This is why preventative maintenance is so important.
Although conducting preventative maintenance and paying attention to your BASIC scores won’t eliminate your risk, it may help lessen the dangers considerably. Lack of proper truck maintenance continues to be both a cost and a safety issue. A single lost retention bolt or failed saddle tank strap could cause catastrophic damage and lead to a serious violation if discovered during an inspection.
Even minor maintenance issues can swiftly become hazardous if they are left undetected or unaddressed. In fact, enforcement officers look for these common safety defects because they may pose issues later:
- Broken windshield wipers
- Wear on saddle tank straps
- Missing bolts
- Wet wheel seals
- Broken or missing lamps or reflectors
- Mirror damage
- Broken, empty, or discharged fire extinguisher
- Suspension wear in excess of normal limits or actual damage to suspension
Inspections focusing on the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC score look for the above issues and more specific problems. Any one of them could trigger a violation, which could then lead to a more invasive, more comprehensive audit and inspection of your fleet.
Safety investigators will review your trucks during roadside inspections and report any issues in the FMCSA’s Safety Management System (SMS). If you do have violations, you will have to furnish paperwork about the vehicle in question, including routine maintenance records, repair records, incident reports and more. So, keeping an eye on your Vehicle Maintenance BASIC score could help you a lot more in the long run.
Understanding how BASICs work and how your score is created is a vital way to help you discover and address any issues before they cause downtime or further inspection headaches for your company. Following all routine maintenance guidelines while performing your own internal inspections can truly help protect your company from violations and keep you compliant with Vehicle Maintenance BASICs.
Get the right trucking insurance to comply with FMCSA regulations
Making sure you’re compliant with the FMSCA BASICs can be a tough job. Managing the insurance requirements you’ll need to follow regulations can be even tougher alone. That’s why our commercial truck insurance experts are here to help you get truck insurance that fits your business and follows federal laws. To start getting quotes for great trucking insurance at great rates, just fill out our easy online form.