The Vehicle Maintenance Violations Basic

Oct 29, 2022 11:02:23 PM / Written by: Mike Riegel

The Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) is one of seven categories that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses to determine how a motor carrier ranks relative to other carriers with a similar number of safety events (i.e., inspections, violations, or crashes). This is used to determine a carrier's CSA score.


What is the Vehicle Maintenance basic?

Carriers are to properly maintain a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and to prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and overloading of a CMV.

These violations are focused on the standards that your equipment must meet in order to drive safely on US roadways. These infractions are easy to spot, which make them some of the most issued violations by the DOT.

There are 406 different types of vehicle maintenance related tickets that the DOT can issue. Everything from a burned-out taillight all the way up to pushing/towing a loaded bus.

Getting violations in this FMCSA BASIC category can lead to DOT audits and other penalties by the FMCSA.

Get vehicle diagnostics with the BIT Dashcam

What are the Vehicle Maintenance groups?

Vehicle maintenance violations are broken into 26 different groups. These groups help determine the severity of the infraction as it relates to safety. Items such as warning flags are less severe while items like towing a loaded bus is the most severe.

Violation group Severity weight
Brakes out of adjustment 4
Brakes, All others 4
Cab, Body, Frame 2
Clearance Identification Lamps/Other 2
Coupling Devices 3
Emergency Equipment 2
Exhaust Discharge 1
Failure to Prevent Movement 3
Fuel Systems 1
General Securement 1
Improper Load Securement 7
Inspection Reports 4
Lighting 6
Other Vehicle Defect 3
Reflective Sheeting 3
Securement Device 1
Steering Mechanism 6
Suspension 7
Tiedown 3
Tire vs Load 3
Tires 8
Towing Loaded Bus 10
Vehicle Jumping OOS 10
Warning Flags 1
Wheels, Studs, Clamps, etc 2
Windshield / Glass / Markings 1


Top 10 most issued vehicle maintenance violations

The vehicle maintenance BASIC is one of the most violated areas of trucking enforcement. It accounts for over 60% of violations issued by the USDOT.

Below are the top 10 most issued vehicle maintenance violations issued across the country for 2021. This gives some indication into what the DOT finds most important in terms of proper vehicle maintenance.


Violation Count
Inoperable Lamp required 177,959
Inspection, repair and maintenance of parts and accessories 78,916
Operating a CMV without proof of a periodic inspection 49,387
Clamp or Roto type brake out-of-adjustment 39,922
No or defective lighting devices or reflective material as required 39,256
No/discharged/unsecured fire extinguisher 34,740
Brake hose or tubing chafing and/or kinking 31,560
Oil and/or grease leak 29,566
Tire-flat and/or audible air leak 26,486
CMV manufactured after 10/19/94 has an automatic airbrake adjustment system that fails to compensate for wear 23,753


If you are ever wrongfully issued a violation keep all of your documentation and fill out a DataQ to have the violation reviewed by the FMCSA

To see the full list of vehicle maintenance violations that make up the vehicle maintenance basic you can download here.


Topics: Maintenance

Most Popular Post This Month

Learn more about Blue Ink Tech products!