Understanding CSA 2010 BASICs: FMCSA Gets Serious about SafetyMarch 26, 2012
Accidents, breakdowns and paperwork oversights are a part of life, right? But for motor carriers, they can be more than annoyances. They’re the difference between making the delivery on-time and having the customer choose a different carrier next time. And there’s the DOT looking over your shoulder too. The standards that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) introduced in 2010 are finally working their way into your world, and it’s worth paying attention to what they mean and how you can stay on top of them and keep your fleet on the road.
We all know that the FMCSA starts an intervention process if you rack up violations, but some brokers and shippers are starting to pay attention to your CSA scores and choose carriers that are well below the thresholds that trigger investigations and warning letters.
Whether you’re a beginner trucker or an owner managing an entire fleet, this compliance information affects you, and we want to help you navigate the FMCSA roadmap. We’ll talk a little here about the overall system, follow that with some posts on the individual Behavioral and Statistical Improvement Categories that the FMCSA is monitoring, and wrap it up with some information on what you can do if you’re being inspected.
Back to CSA 2010 BASICs: What they’re keeping an eye on
We exist in a competitive business climate, and fleet operators are looking for a way to balance everyday business challenges against the added weight of evolving trucking regulatory compliance. One tool the FMCSA has introduced is their Safety Measurement System (SMS) website, which replaces SafeStat, making it easier to keep track of your fleet’s overall ranking. Especially when used along with an electronic onboard recorder (EOBR) solution, the new SMS website will help you catch safety violations and deal with them before they become bigger problems.
Part of the FMCSA’s SMS system, is increased monitoring in seven safety improvement categories, called BASICs (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories). The seven areas being monitored are:
The FMCSA is making the rankings for each category available to the public, announcing just last week that the cargo-related BASIC would soon be shifted into the vehicle-maintenance category and a new hazmat BASIC would be created. Previously, cargo-securement rankings had been kept private while the FMCSA tried to find a standard that could be accurately applied across all motor carriers.
We’ll be exploring each of these categories in separate, weekly posts, starting with a look at vehicle maintenance.
Using trucking technology to overcome challenges
The goal of the FMCSA’s SMS website is to provide an easy-to-view snapshot of violations across all the BASICs, giving fleet operators the tools they need to address issues before they grow into citations and inspections. Xata’s electronic onboard recorder solutions, Xata Turnpike and XataNet, provide scalable fleet management software that proactively collects and gathers the same kind of information that the FMCSA monitors, so fleet operators are able to avoid violations before they even land on the FMCSA’s radar.
If you’re facing some of the following CSA situations, Xata has a solution for you:
● Can your shop minimize downtime and avoid costly penalties by identifying routine maintenance problems with real-time vehicle maintenance alerts?
● Would you know how to easily identify drivers who are consistently breaking the speed limit or hard-braking?
● Are you able to easily confirm that your entire fleet is in compliance with the FMCSA BASIC guidelines?
With the information provided by Xata Turnpike and XataNet, shop mechanics can easily review pre- and post-trip inspections and determine which trucks need service, help fleet operators assess their drivers’ productivity and monitor unsafe driving habits, among a host of other features.
Follow along each week as we take a look at each one of the CSA BASICs that the FMCSA monitors, starting with vehicle maintenance.