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How Authorities Determine the Severity Weight of Violations

The Compliance, Safety & Accountability (CSA) program uses data from crash reports and roadside inspections to identify drivers exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may intervene with these drivers at a later time to address safety concerns.

Each violation is assigned a severity weight based on various factors, which we’ll explain in detail.

Determining the Severity Weight of Violations: A Comprehensive Overview

When there’s an inspection violation that applies to a BASIC (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category), it is given a “severity weight.” Simply put, the severity weight indicates the risk of a crash due to the violation.

To quickly review the BASIC categories, they include:

With the adjusted measures in place, the CSA assigns scores in each BASIC category expressed as a percentile rank. Carriers with deficient scores compared to other carriers with similar violations or inspections will receive priority for FMCSA intervention. This is why it’s essential to commit to safety and keep track of your BASIC scores.

Assigning a Weight to Violations and Crashes

The CSA assigns a weight to violations and crashes based on their severity and the time since the incident occurred. Newer and more severe violations receive greater weight. The weight assigned to each violation is directly related to the risk of a crash or the fact that a crash already occurred. For crashes, those severe enough to cause a fatality or injury receive greater weight, as do crashes resulting in a tow-away.

The point scale ranges from one to ten, with ten indicating the most severe violations. If a driver receives an out-of-service order due to a severe violation, the CSA will assign an additional two points.

Here are some examples of points assigned to various violations:

  • 10 points for reckless driving
  • 7 points for not wearing a seatbelt
  • 5 points for not changing lanes properly

Each BASIC category has an extensive list of potential violations and the points assigned to them. All safety events remain on a commercial driver’s record for 24 months. During the first six months after the occurrence, the CSA weights the event three times as much as events that occurred between 12 and 24 months ago. Events in the six to 12-month range receive double weighting.

While this might all seem complicated, it’s crucial to understand the impact of certain violations. The FMCSA takes safety seriously, so make sure you understand and comply with the required safety regulations.

Bottom Line

Protect your business, stay compliant, and drive safely! By understanding the CSA program and securing the right insurance, you’re taking essential steps toward a successful and secure trucking operation.

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