Just because Roadcheck is over doesn’t mean truckers can relax when it comes to safety. Driving safely and ensuring that your equipment is in safe working order should be the top priority for drivers every day. It’s important to note that your driving habits affect more than you. When you are unsafe, you put others at risk and you affect not only your CSA score but the overall CSA score of your company and all the drivers who are employed there.

Getting down to BASICs

The FMSCA determines your safety and compliance performance through the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASICs for short. This information is obtained during roadside inspections, crash reports, and investigation results. If you are given a warning or a ticket or have been involved in an accident, your CSA score will be affected.

Your performance in the BASICs categories illustrates your overall commitment to safety and compliance as a driver, but it also reflects your company’s overall commitment to safety and compliance. Poor performance by drivers can lead to companies being flagged; which leads to increased inspection for everyone within the fleet. Safety is a team effort and everyone should be striving for zero violations when it comes to safety and compliance.

The 7 Categories of BASICs and how to Improve Your Habits in Each

Unsafe Driving is first on the list and should be pretty self-explanatory. As professional drivers we need to maintain safe driving habits at all times, lives depend on it. Avoiding unsafe driving habits like speeding, improper lane changes, texting while driving, aggressive driving and intimidating others on the roadways will help increase your safe driving habits.

Driver Fitness is next on the list ensuring that drivers have proper licensing to operate the equipment they are using, ensure that they are carrying the proper paperwork (log books, bills of lading, registration or cab card, IFTA and HAZMAT).

HOS Compliance is the next big one and is pretty self-explanatory as well. Remain within the regulated HOS and you’re all good. Ensure that your log book is filled in correctly with no missing information. Omitting your daily recaps or BOL numbers are common errors for which drivers are receiving tickets. If you have any questions about HOS talk to your company’s safety and compliance manager.

Vehicle maintenance is an obvious safety issue. We must be properly completing pre and post trip inspections every day. Get into the habit of completing a quick walk around inspection of your equipment throughout the day. Report any defects immediately.

Controlled substances & alcohol is obviously prohibited. Trucking companies are required to perform random drug screening for illegal drugs and alcohol abuse. But consider everything you put in your body while operating your truck. Over-the-counter and prescription medication can impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. Alcohol in the cab, open or not, is a serious violation.

Hazardous materials compliance can be complicated. You as the driver are responsible for ensuring you and your load comply with the rules of documentation, proper cargo labeling, load securement, placards and other regulations. If you have any questions regarding a hazardous materials load contact your safety manager before you leave the shipper.

The final category is the Crash Indicator, while not public information, this is a very important category and one that drivers should strive to stay out of. Needless to say negative results in this category can have detrimental impacts on you as a driver, your company, and the lives of others involved in the accident with you.

As professionals, the safe driving habits we adopt and the very process of remaining safe and compliant with all rules and regulations should keep us from causing or being involved in any accidents. When you are a truck driver you have to look at more than just having a job and collecting a pay cheque. You have to know and understand the risks involved and what it takes to become a seasoned, accident-free driver. Take a good look at the above tips for safe driving habits and really examine your habits to make sure you are doing everything you can to be the safest driver on the road.