How does a violation’s severity weight get calculated?

The trucking world can be complicated, particularly when it comes to violations and what they mean. There are a lot of terms that come up, and that can be frustrating. So, we’ll take the opportunity to explain a bit of how violations work. What’s a severity weight, and how is that determined? Why does it matter? And where can you, as a trucking business, find out more? Here goes.

What is a violation’s severity weight?

Okay. So, the violation’s severity weight is all about, well, how severe the violation is. All violations related to the BASICs are given a severity weight, so each violation that has to do with a BASIC is given a weight that reflects the crash risk in terms of occurrence and consequences. To put it simply, the violation severity weight differentiates the amount of “crash risk” that comes along with various violations within each BASIC. It breaks down how likely a crash would be to occur and how bad the outcome of a crash could be. (And, side note, that’s also why it’s important to understand the BASICs and what each of them means.)

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The violation weights are on a scale of 1-10. One is the lower crash risk. Ten is the highest crash risk. (This is relative to the other violations in the BASICs.) If a violation ends with an out-of-service order, an additional two points of weight is added.

(Crashes are given severity weight based on the consequences of the incident. A greater weight is given to crashes that involve an injury, a fatality, or a mess involving hazardous materials. Lesser weight is given to crashes that only involve a tow-away.)

Now, it’s also extremely important to know that each weight reflects the severity of the violation within its BASIC category. That means that the violations can’t be compared between the BASICs. For example, a severity weight in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC is not the same as a severity weight in the Driver Fitness BASIC.

Where can you find more information about severity weights?

To find out more about how severity weights work, you can use the SMS Methodology Document.

Severity weights in the SMS are subject to change, so that’s why the SMS Methodology document is so important. Also, Appendix A of that SMS Methodology document contains the severity points for all violations used in the SMS. There’s plenty of helpful stuff in there! Check it out if you need any more information about how the Safety Measurement System works.

The trucking world can be complicated, particularly when violations and such are concerned. Severity weights show the crash risk and outcomes for each violation within the BASIC categories. Remember that these weights can’t be compared across the BASIC categories – a weight in one BASIC isn’t the same as that weight in a different BASIC. Out-of-service orders add an extra 2 points to the severity weight. And if you need more information, the SMS Methodology Document can be a great help.

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Trucks come with a lot of risk. And that’s why it’s really important to have the right truck insurance to protect your business. Our team is pretty good at helping trucking businesses save money on their insurance, and we like making insurance easy. You can get in touch with our team by filling out our online form, giving us a call, or messaging us on LiveChat. We would be happy to help you get the coverage you need to protect your business.