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Do you speak BASIC?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories—BASIC—to determine a motor carrier’s safety performance and compliance relative to other carriers. Five BASICs are publicly available online in the Safety Measurement System (SMS). Crash Indicator and Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance are only available to motor carriers that log into their own safety profile, or enforcement personnel.

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.

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. The Crash Indicator BASIC is not public. It is only available to a motor carrier that is logged into its own safety profile, or to enforcement personnel

Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance

This BASIC addresses requirements for all large truck and bus drivers to ensure that they are alert, awake, and able to respond quickly.

Vehicle Maintenance

This BASIC considers proper vehicle maintenance to help ensure safety on the road, including pre- and post-trip inspections, vehicle defects, and repairs.

Controlled Substances/Alcohol

This BASIC addresses misuse of alcohol, illegal drugs, and over the counter and prescription medications that impair driving abilities and endanger everyone's safety on the road. Having containers of alcoholic beverages in Commercial Motor Vehicle cabs, whether open or not, is a violation.

Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance

This 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. The HM Compliance BASIC is not public. It is only available to a motor carrier that is logged into its own safety profile or to enforcement personnel.

Driver Fitness

This BASIC addresses driving records. Motor carriers are responsible for ensuring driver qualification files are complete and current. Required files for each and every driver include commercial drivers' licenses (CDLs), medical certificates, State driving records, annual reviews of driving records, and employment applications.

Company Impact

The BASICs organize data from roadside inspections, including driver and vehicle violations, crash reports from the last two years, and investigation results. Violations 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 investigation that could result in an Out-of-Service Order (OOSO) or a change to your company’s safety rating.

Data Quality

You should review the violations shown and verify the accuracy of this data. If incorrect data is present, you may use the DataQ system to contest the information. The calculation process places your firm into Safety Event Group with similar numbers of safety events. There is also segmentation based on the type of vehicles in your fleet. This data comes from the MCS 150 form that you submit. Incorrect data on this form can impact your BASIC scores.

Driver Impacts

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 preemployment screening tool to see a driver’s five-year crash and three-year inspection history.

Insurance Impacts

BASIC scores have become a standard part of underwriting auto insurance for motor carriers. Poor BASIC scores can have adverse impacts on risk selection and pricing decisions by insurance companies.

The Driehaus Difference

You need someone who can help you interpret and monitor your results. If your carrier uses Central Analysis Bureau reports, we can ask for scheduled updates to manage this data and review it with you for quality. We understand the process and the data that goes into these scores. Call us at 513-977-6860 or contact us via our website at

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