When it comes to driving a commercial motor vehicle, it’s important to operate the vehicle in the safest manner possible. Drivers need to be very careful as they drive, as the FMCSA takes safety seriously. There are seven categories called the BASICs (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category). One of those BASICs is called the Unsafe Driving BASIC, and it’s definitely a very important one. We’ll explain what this BASIC covers and how you can improve.
What is the Unsafe Driving BASIC?
As we mentioned, there are seven categories that the FMCSA uses to rank motor carriers for safety. They do this by comparing motor carriers with others that have a similar record of safety events, such as inspections, violations, and crashes. This lets them know how the motor carrier stacks up against others in a similar situation – are they safer, or less safe? Anyways, the Unsafe Driving BASIC covers the operation of CMVs in a way that is unduly dangerous or reckless. It concerns the regulations found in 49 CFR Parts 392 and 397.
What would get you in trouble in the Unsafe Driving BASIC?
The Unsafe Driving BASIC has to do with operating the truck safely, of course. That being said, these are a few examples of violations for this category:
- Reckless driving
- Improper lane changes
- Using a handheld phone
Violations related to the Unsafe Driving BASIC can impact your SMS standing for 24 months. If time passes and/or you don’t have any violations, that can help.
How can you tell how you’re doing in the Unsafe Driving BASIC?
Motor carriers can use the SMS (Safety Measurement System) to check on how they’re doing in this BASIC. If you have issues in this category and you’re not doing so well, you’ll see a warning symbol to alert you. You’ll also be able to see records of your crashes – and, if you feel that anything is incorrect, you can request a review through DataQs.
You’ll be able to get an idea of how you’re doing by looking at your percentile ranking. Note that violations will cause the percentile to go up, which isn’t good – that means that there are safety compliance issues. This could lead to intervention from the FMCSA, such as a warning letter or investigation.
Pro tip – Hold onto various documents that could come in handy if you have an investigation. Keep track of driver training certificates, and make sure that you’re familiar with the FMCSRs that specify what other documentation you need to have. Safety Inspectors may use these documents to determine what safety issues are present and how severe they are.
How can you improve in the Unsafe Driving BASIC?
There are a few things that motor carriers can do to improve in the Unsafe Driving BASIC. Remember, it’s important to really commit to safety at your business, for the sake of your drivers, other drivers on the road, and the business itself. It’s not something to take lightly.
1. Know the regulations.
First and foremost, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the regulations that concern the Unsafe Driving BASIC. These regulations outline what you need to know about the FMCSA’s expectations for the safe operation of a commercial vehicle. You can’t adhere to regulations if you don’t know what the regulations are, right? (For example, wearing seatbelts, obeying traffic laws, and driving according to the speed limit are important.) There are certain things that are pretty obvious examples of what could constitute a problem, like reckless driving, but other things aren’t as obvious.
2. Find patterns of noncompliance.
Motor carriers also need to look at their safety record and see if there are any patterns with particular issues. That way, they can address those issues and pinpoint areas of concern. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. You have to know what you’re trying to correct.
3. Know what resources are available.
You also need to be familiar with the resources that are available from the CSA. By reviewing these resources, you can uncover a ton of helpful tools and information that can help you improve safety at your business. If you know what information is out there, you’ll be able to answer your driver’s questions – and you can let them know where they can learn more.
For example, the FMCSA has the following information available on the CSA website…
- CMV Safety Belt Program
- Increasing Safety Belt Use Manual
- Defensive Driving Crash Countermeasures
- A Motor Carrier’s Guide to Improving Highway Safety
So, that’s what the Unsafe Driving BASIC is and how you can improve in this category. It’s important that your business commits to safety. And it’s also important that you have the right insurance to protect your business. Our truck insurance experts can help you with getting the right insurance for your truck company. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat.