In a bold move, the FMCSA announced a drastic new addition to its CSA safety compliance program last month. The administration currently has six Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) rules that outline specific safety metrics: 1) unsafe driving, 2) driver fitness, 3) controlled substances, 4) vehicle maintenance, 5) improper cargo loading and 6) crash indicator.
The impending overhaul will drop #5 on that list—improper cargo loading——and replace it with a new hazardous material clause, called HazMat BASIC.
What is HazMat BASIC?
In their new move, the FMCSA significantly relaxed its previous standards for hazardous material carriers. Companies that meet the following standards are subject to stricter intervention levels that go beyond the HazMAT BASIC rules. FMCSA expanded its definition of a hazmat carrier to the following:
A hazmat carrier is a company that possesses a hazardous material safety permit from the FMCSA or:
- Has at least two inspections on a vehicle transporting hazardous material that require placards within the last 24 months (with one inspection occurring in the past 12 months).
- At least 5% of the motor carrier’s total inspections involve a vehicle transporting hazardous materials that require placards.
An In-Depth Look
The CSA’s aim in addressing hazardous material? According to the administration, the goal is to correct the bias that flatbed carriers had faced in the previous cargo mandate. The new BASIC rules still address cargo violations, but the regulation has been looped into the CSA’s pre-existing vehicle maintenance metric.
Other changed proposed by the administration include:
- Changing the name of the Fatigued Driver HOS BASIC rule to the HOS Compliance BASIC rule
- Eliminating vehicle violations from driver-only inspections
- Eliminating driver violations from vehicle-only inspections
- Better identifying carriers engaged in transporting passengers
We'll find out soon if these proposed changes hold their footing.