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The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to keep roads safe and to ensure crashes, injuries, and fatalities that involve large trucks and buses are reduced.  In order to fulfill this safety mandate, the FMCSA must collaborate with carriers and fleet managers to ensure drivers are practicing safe driving habits on the road.

The FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program introduced the checklist BASIC—Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories—to score carriers and drivers operating vehicles in an unsafe manner so that disciplinary action can be taken. The seven measurements included in the BASIC score are: driver fitness and health, vehicle maintenance, unsafe driving, Hours-of-Service (HOS) compliance, controlled substances/alcohol, hazardous materials (HM) compliance, and crash indicator.

The score itself is a percentile that shows how each carrier compares to other carriers that have received approximately the same number of inspections in relation to their size and operation type.

In order to better identify at risk carriers, the FMCSA has announced plans to make a few changes to BASIC and focus intervention thresholds of its safety measurement categories to crash risk.

High-risk BASICs include unsafe driving, crash indicator, and HOS compliance, and will keep the current intervention threshold at 65%. But the threshold for medium- and low-risk violations will rise to 80% and 90%, respectively. The higher the percentile ranking for a carrier indicates poor performance in the CSA BASIC category.

This is currently just a proposal.  The FMCSA will accept public comment on the changes until July 29th of this year, and proceed through a preview process before issuing the final rule. If the changes do go into effect, what can that mean for carriers?

The best way to avoid being a target for an intervention by the FMCSA will be to focus on ensuring safe driving and HOS compliance.

By incorporating a GPS tracking solution to your operation, fleet owners can track HOS electronically and automatically, eliminating the potential for written mistakes in reporting as traditionally performed with paper forms. And by tracking exactly what the vehicle is doing in real-time and recording incidents such as speeding or stop-sign violation, GPS tracking software helps fleet managers identify which drivers need additional training or disciplinary action. Finally, by paying a higher per-mile rate to drivers with safe records, or providing other forms of incentives, managers can use GPS tracking software to eliminate the temptation to speed or to go without rest to cover more miles.

Ultimately, the proposed change could make the roads safer and prevent interventions from the FMCSA.

Carriers can find out what their current BASIC score is by logging in to the SMS (Safety Measurement System) website.

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