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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was created in January 2000 under the Department of Transportation. Its goal is to prevent motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries by enforcing safety regulations. One program is known as Compliance, Safety, and Accountability. (CSA). This program uses investigators to identify carriers with safety performance problems. This is done by use of the Safety Measurement System (SMS). 

According to CSA, the SMS uses data from roadside inspections and crash reports to identify and intervene with motor carriers that present the greatest safety risk. Every month, the SMS is updated with new data organized into seven categories known as the BASICS. This stands for Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. Motor carriers are ranked using the BASIC system.

The BASIC categories are:

  • Unsafe Driving: Behaviors such as texting, speeding, reckless driving, inattention, improper lane changes, and using a handheld device are included in this category.
  • Crash Indicator: This category collects state-reported crashes from the last two years to highlight patterns of high crash involvement and the behaviors that contributed to the crash.
  • Hours-of-Service: This category of violations is regarded as one of the most impactful in terms of a motor carrier’s score. Drivers of all large trucks or buses are required to make sure they are alert, awake, and able to respond quickly.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Drivers are required to perform inspections before and after trips. This is also known as DVIRs.
  • Controlled Substances/Alcohol: This category can also drastically impact a motor carrier’s score. It can also lead to issues with law enforcement. Drivers are required to be free of impairment from alcohol and drugs while operating a vehicle on the road.
  • Hazardous Materials: This involves properly packaging, marking, labeling, and loading hazardous materials.
  • Driver Fitness: This category isn’t always heavily regulated but it is crucial. It requires drivers to be healthy and physically able to properly operate a commercial motor vehicle. It also ensures that drivers know how to operate a CMV.

How To Keep Your Basic Score Low

Motor carriers want to have the lowest score possible. On a scale of one to ten, a one represents the lowest crash risk, while a ten represents the highest. Each BASIC category is measured by the following:

  • The number of adverse safety events (only violations related to the BASIC categories or crashes)
  • The severity of violations or crashes
  • When the adverse safety event happened (recent events hold more weight)

When you have a lower BASIC score, you may very well have a lower insurance fee. There are some things you can do to ensure your score is as low as possible:

  • Encourage your drivers to eat healthy foods and exercise. This will prepare them in passing a physical examination. Some companies also implement fatigue training.
  • Keep up with your driver’s qualification documents and know when they expire.
  • Perform regular motor vehicle record searches on your drivers. This can help you avoid violations.
  • Appeal violations on a driver’s record that you believe are a mistake. If proven, it could be expunged from your driver’s record.
  • Give your drivers an incentive for getting a clean inspection. People are more likely to perform a certain way when they know they may receive a reward.

The best way to educate drivers about the importance of keeping a low score is to make sure they can openly ask questions about regulations. Keeping an open line of communication can make a difference in how you teach your drivers about these regulations.

Insurance Policies That Protect You

Biscayne Risk & Insurance Group is doing its part to make sure your business doesn’t slow down because of violations. We want to give our clients every resource they need to be successful that includes tips for managing your fleet along with adequate insurance solutions. We have coverage options to protect your auto business, commercial property, and much more. You can contact us by clicking here. We look forward to working with you!

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