Professional drivers will soon get accustomed to the FMCSA’s new checklist BASIC, as tracked by the CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) program. BASIC is an acronym for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. With this new program, drivers operating vehicles in a careless or unsafe manner, and carriers employing unsafe drivers, risk elevated BASIC scores that can ultimately trigger disciplinary action.
BASIC is not itself a safety rule, but rather a clear and simple way to think about issues specified by many different—and sometimes confusing—rules. Learning about the BASICs is a faster, more straightforward way to learn what inspectors are looking for, without having to read and virtually memorize a long rulebook.
There are seven CSA BASICs: unsafe driving, fatigued driving, driver fitness (which includes a medical component but does not focus on physical fitness), drug and alcohol issues, cargo related issues, vehicle maintenance, and a crash indicator.
Here, we will focus on three—unsafe driving, fatigued driving, and vehicle maintenance:
Violations in this category include improper lane changes and speeding, plus more subtle issues, like not wearing seatbelts. Essentially, drivers need to follow traffic laws and pay attention to the road. If they do not, they can expect the Department of Transportation to take notice.
In order to prepare for inspection in this category, drivers should carry any applicable driver training certifications. And drivers hauling explosives may need to have written route plans.
With GPS fleet tracking software, carriers can get proper insight into vehicle safety, scores and events in their fleet. Teletrac offers analytics features to help businesses monitor their driver’s habits so that they can better train and coach their drivers, and improve safety across the entire fleet.
Fatigued driving/HOS compliance
Hours-of-service (HOS) rules codify an important principle—drivers need to get enough rest or they become a danger to themselves and others on the road. Violating the rules or falsifying HOS, sometimes referred to as records of duty status (RODS), can earn drivers negative points. To prepare for a possible inspection, drivers must have accurate HOS records, plus supporting documents, such as bills of lading, dispatch records, tracking records, freight bills, fuel receipts, and weigh/scale receipts.
Vehicle maintenance violations vary and can include problems with brakes and lights, or improper load securement. Drivers should carry roadside inspection reports, vehicle maintenance files, equipment repair receipts, accident reports, and other related documents. Teletrac’s Vehicle Services Report provides users with up-to-date information with an itemized view of a vehicles’ past maintenance services, while tracking due dates for future service needs.
Taking care of the BASICs is the responsibility of both drivers and their employers. Carriers can ensure their vehicles are in safe and well-kept working order, and simultaneously ensure their drivers are well-trained and abiding by the law. Drivers can do their part by working safely, proactively monitoring their hours, and taking care of their equipment.
Carriers can find out what their current BASIC score is by logging in to the SMS (Safety Measurement System) website.