What are the 7 FMCSA BASICs used to calculate CSA scores?

Oct 21, 2022 10:13:26 AM / Written by: Mike Riegel

The FMCSA uses 7 driving improvement categories to determine a carrier's safety performance relative to other carriers. The Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or (BASICs) are used to determine a carriers CSA score and to measure how safely the carrier operates.

The BASICs organize data from roadside inspections, including driver and vehicle violations, crash reports from the last two years, and investigation results. Violations adversely affect your company’s SMS results for two years and may prioritize your company for an FMCSA intervention, ranging from warning letters to full Onsite Investigations that could result in an Out-of-Service Order (OOSO) or a change to your company’s safety rating.

Your safety performance and compliance impact your employer’s safety records—and your own. With driver consent, carriers can use FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) as a pre- employment screening tool to see a driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history.

The 7 BASICs are:

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Unsafe Driving

The Unsafe Driving BASIC prioritizes interventions for repeated unsafe behaviors, including

  • Texting
  • Speeding
  • Using a hand held cell phone
  • Reckless driving
  • Improper lane change
  • Inattention

Which Federal regulations relate to this BASIC?
49 CFR Parts 392 and 397 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

Click here for the complete list of violations that fall under the unsafe driving BASIC

Common unsafe driving violations are

Driving Violation Relevant Code
Moving violations 392.2
Failing to use seat belt
Using a hand-held cell phone
Unauthorized passenger
Wheel flaps missing or defective 392.2WC
Failing to secure load 392.9(a)(2)
Failing to conduct pre-trip inspection 392.7(a)

Violations recorded on a roadside inspection report are used in the SMS, regardless of whether a State officer also issues a citation (i.e., ticket) or a verbal warning. If a driver or carrier receives violations on a roadside inspection report, they can request a review of the data through DataQs. The SMS does not use State-issued citations unless they are issued in conjunction with a roadside inspection report.


Crash Indicator

State-reported crashes from the last two years are collected in this BASIC to help identify patterns of high crash involvement and the behavior or set of behaviors that contributed to the crash. All crashes involving commercial motor vehicles, as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, are reportable if they result in a fatality or injury or require a vehicle to be transported from the crash scene, regardless of the carrier’s or driver’s role in the crash.


Hours-of-Service Compliance (HOS)

The HOS regulations make roads safer by requiring rest for all large truck and bus drivers to ensure that they are alert, awake, and able to respond quickly.

Hours-of-service violations are some of the most impactful violations on a carriers CSA score. Many of these violations are tied around the use of the driver's electronic logging device (ELD)

Which Federal regulations relate to this BASIC?
49 CFR Parts 392 and 395 of the FMCSRs.

Click here for the complete list of violations that fall under the Hours-of-service BASIC

Common hours-of-service violations are

Hours-of-service violations Relevant Code
Form and manner issues 395.8
Driver’s RODS not current 395.8(f)1
30-min break after 8 hours on duty 395.3(a)(3)(ii)
14-hour violations 395.3(a)(2)
False RODS 395.8(e)
Failing to retain 7 days of RODS 395.8(k)(2)
No driver RODS 395.8(a)
11-hour violations 395.3(a)(3)
On-board recording device violations 395.15
Driving after 70 hours on duty in 8 days 395.3(b)(2)


Vehicle Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance violations are related to the quality of the equipment the CMV that the driver is using. Drivers need to conduct pre- and post-trip inspections (commonly referred to as DVIRs), record vehicle defects, and repair them prior to operating the vehicle.

Which Federal regulations relate to this BASIC?
49 CFR Parts 392, 393, and 396 of the FMCSRs.

Click here for the complete list of violations that fall under the vehicle maintenance BASIC

Common vehicle maintenance violations are

Vehicle Maintenance Violations Relevant Code
Parts or accessories in disrepair 396.3(a)(1)
Oil or grease leak 396.5(b)
Operating without periodic inspection 396.17(c)
Hubs—Oil/Grease leaking from hub 396.5(b)
Hubs―Wheel seal leaking 396.5(b)
Failure to correct defects on DVIR 396.5(b)
Brakes (general) 396.3(a)(1)
Brakes - system pressure loss 396.3(a)(1)
Tires (general) 396.3(a)(1)
Not having required operable lamps 393.9
Tire tread depth less than 2/32" 393.75C


Controlled Substances & Alcohol

Alcohol, illegal drugs, and over-the-counter and prescription medication misuse impair driving abilities and endanger your safety and the safety of those on the road with you. Having containers of alcoholic beverages in your cab, whether open or not, is a violation. These types of violations will dramatically impact CSA scores and in some cases can lead to jail time.

Which Federal regulations relate to this BASIC?
49 CFR Parts 382 and 392 of the FMCSRs.

Click here for the complete list of violations that fall under the controlled substance and alcohol BASIC

Common controlled substances & alcohol violations

Substances & Alcohol Violations Relevant Code
Failing to Implement a drug/alcohol testing program 382.115(a)
Using a driver before receiving a pre-employment drug test result 382.301(a)
Failing to conduct post-accident alcohol or drug test 382.303
Failing to do random drug tests at applicable annual rate 382.305(b)(2)
Driver performing safety-sensitive function without follow-up 382.503
Using a driver who refused to take drug/alcohol test 382.211
Using a driver with a .04 alcohol level 382.201
Failing to implement a random controlled substance or alcohol testing program 382.305
Using a driver who has tested positive for a drug 382.215


Hazardous Materials Compliance

The hazardous materials Compliance BASIC includes regulations that require special attention, from how to properly package, mark, label, placard, and load HM to understanding regulations for tank specification testing, loading/unloading, attendance, and leakage.

Which Federal regulations relate to this BASIC?

49 CFR Part 397 of the FMCSRs and 49 CFR Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179, and 180
of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMRs).

Click here for the complete list of violations that fall under the hazardous materials violation BASIC

Common Hazardous Materials violations are

Hazardous Materials Violations Relevant Code
Package not secure in vehicle 177.834A
No copy of U.S. DOT hazmat registration number 107.620B
Placard damaged, deteriorated, or obscured 172.516C6
No shipping papers, carrier 177.817A
Shipping paper accessibility 177.817E
Vehicle not placarded as required 172.504A
Emergency response information missing 172.602A
Failing to provide carrier required placards 172.502A1
Failing to enter basic description of hazmat in proper sequence 172.202B
No required placards or markings 177.823A


Driver Fitness

Motor carriers are responsible for making sure driver qualification files are complete and current. Required files for each and every driver include valid commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs), medical certificates, State driving records, annual reviews of driving records, and employment applications. The Driver Fitness BASIC does not consider body mass index (BMI), weight, or neck size.

Which Federal regulations relate to this BASIC?

49 CFR Parts 383 and 391
of the FMCSRs.

Click here for the complete list of violations that fall under the driver fitness BASIC

Common driver fitness violations are

Driver Violations
Relevant Code
Non-English speaking driver 391.11
Incomplete driver qualification file 391.51
Operating a property-carrying vehicle without possessing a valid medical certificate 391.41
Driver does not have a valid operator's license for the CMV being operated 391.11
Expired medical examiner's certificate 391.45
Driver lacking physical qualification(s) 391.11
Driver operating a CMV without proper endorsements or in violation of restrictions 391.11
Driver lacking valid license for type vehicle being operated 391.11

The 7 CSA BASICs Infographic

Topics: Safety, FMCSA, DataQ

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