The Driver Fitness Compliance 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 in its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative. As a driver, your performance directly affects your carrier’s CSA ranking.
What’s the Driver Fitness BASIC?
All roadside inspection violations that pertain to a BASIC are assigned a severity weight. Severity weights range from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the lowest crash risk and 10 represents the highest crash risk (tips for preventing truck crashes). For example, in the Driver Fitness BASIC, operating a CMV without a CDL license is assigned a severity weight of 8 and possessing an expired medical examiner’s certificate is given a severity weight of 1.
All safety-based roadside inspections count, not just out-of-service violations. Roadside inspections can occur at any time, so be prepared!
Tips for Lowering Your Scores
There are major benefits to keeping your carrier’s Driver Fitness BASIC scores low. Not only does it help keep your rig in service and on the road as much as possible, low scores mean fewer accidents and safer roads, as well as lower insurance costs.
Here are some tips to keep those scores as low as possible:
- Always keep proper driver documentation in your cab. This includes medical certificates, state driving records, annual reviews of driving records, and employment applications.
- Make sure all your documents are still valid. Add expiration dates to a calendar to remind you when they expire.
- Take driver fatigue training seriously. Eat healthy while on the road and avoid medications that cause drowsiness. Be aware that smoking, turning up the radio, and drinking coffee are not real cures for fatigue.
- Exercise when you can. Even walking a few laps around the truck while at a rest stop can do wonders for your overall health.
- Aim for healthier foods while on the road. Most rest stops now include fresh produce and other nutritional items. Take advantage of them!
- Keep lines of communication open. If you have questions about regulations or are feeling fatigued, don’t risk a violation—your fleet managers are happy to answer any questions and concerns. Also, you must report a suspension of your CDL to your employer by the following business day.
- If there is an erroneous violation on your record, appeal it. If you have a good basis for the appeal, there is a good chance it can be expunged from the record.