The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program of the FMCSA was designed to weed out as many as 5 percent, or 150,000, of the country’s 3 million or so long-haul truck drivers they believe are involved in a disproportionately high number of truck accidents and fatalities.
CSA uses a complex scoring system to rate the nearly 700,000 DOT-registered interstate trucking companies on seven “Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories”, known as “BASICs.”
The seven (7) BASIC categories are
- Unsafe Driving – Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 397)
- Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) – Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to logbooks as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example violations: Exceeding HOS, maintaining an incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
- Driver Fitness – Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations: Failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
- Controlled Substances/Alcohol – Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations: Use or possession of controlled substances/alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
- Vehicle Maintenance – Failure to properly maintain a CMV. Example violations: Brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, and failure to make required repairs. (FMCSR Parts 393 and 396)
- Cargo-Related – Failure to properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, overloading, and unsafe handling of hazardous materials on a CMV. Example violations: Improper load securement, cargo retention, and hazardous material handling. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393, 397 and HM Violations)
- Crash Indicator – Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity. It is based on information from State-reported crashes.
A carrier’s measurement for each BASIC depends on the following:
- The number of adverse safety events (violations related to that BASIC or crashes)
- The severity of violations or crashes
- Date when the adverse safety events occurred (more recent events are weighted more heavily)
Carriers are scored in each category. The worse the carrier’s performance -the higher the score. Warning letters are sent to fleets with scores above 65 (60 for HazMat carriers).