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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

7 Safety BASICs for Trucks

by Jared Staver in Truck Accidents

Trucking companies and their drivers in the United States are required to adhere to a set of Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) standards set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There are seven categories of compliance defined by this program called Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). These seven BASICs govern how trucking companies and drivers are evaluated. Poor performance in any of these categories can potentially lead to vehicular accidents and penalties for the trucking carrier.

If you have suffered an injury due to a trucking accident, our experienced Chicago trucking accident attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. are ready to help. Contact our team today at (312) 236-2900 and let us work on your behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Below are the seven categories assigned under the BASIC system. Upon evaluation, trucking companies are assigned a performance score for each category that ranges from 100 to 0, with 0 designated the best possible score.

1. Unsafe Driving

A range of identifiable driver actions can fall under the category of unsafe driving. These include driver inattention, speeding, improper lane changes, and reckless driving. Under this compliance category, companies are required to verify that they provide drivers with feedback on their driving activities as well as training opportunities. Evaluations of compliance are made through a review of motor vehicle records, a carrier’s accident register, and insurance loss reports.

2. Driver Fitness

The violation of this compliance category of the BASICs system can involve such deficiencies as lack of experience, medical qualifications, and training. At routine roadside inspections, drivers are often checked for the possession of a valid driver’s license along with any medical exemptions. The FMCSA may also evaluate driver fitness based on prior accident reports that indicate a lack of experience.

3. Vehicle Maintenance

The failure to comply with vehicle maintenance standards and maintain proper vehicle condition can trigger a poor performance score in this BASIC category. Trucking companies and their drivers are responsible for keeping the condition of their vehicles up to required standards.

4. Crash Indicator

The FMCSA is actively involved is investigating crash reports of trucking incidents that have been filed through law enforcement agencies. As well, the trucking carrier itself may file its own accident reports that are reviewed under the CSA standards. The crash indicator score assigned to any particular trucking carrier will depend on such factors as crash frequency and crash severity.

5. Hours-of-Service Compliance

Another core evaluation within the BASICs criteria involves Hours-of-Service compliance. This standard is designed to prevent driver fatigue that can lead to very dangerous situations and even fatal accidents. An examination of driver logs can indicate if violations of the Hours-of-Service regulations have occurred. Trucking companies that fall short in this category may be subject to non-compliance reports, fines, and a poor safety score.

6. Controlled Substances / Alcohol Use

The use of any controlled substance, including alcohol while operating a motor vehicle constitutes a serious offense. The motor carrier may be held liable for any damage or injuries that result from such an infraction. The FMCSA monitors compliance with this BASIC safety criterion through roadside inspections and the evaluation of accident reports that involve driver impairment from controlled substances or alcohol.

7. Hazardous Materials Compliance

The safe loading and handling of hazardous materials on a carrier’s trucking vehicle are of paramount importance to both the safety of the driver and others on the road. Trucking companies must provide adequate hazardous material training and guidelines to ensure these materials are not handled improperly by employees and do not spill during loading, transport or unloading.

How a Chicago Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

If a carrier receives poor BASIC scores in any of the categories above, the FMCSA may provide interventions that include warning letters, on and off-site investigations, increased roadside inspections, cooperative safety plans, violations notices, penalties, and fines. Receiving poor scores in these categories can indicate risk factors for being involved in a truck accident.

The results of a truck accident can prove devastating not only to your health but also your livelihood. If you are now suffering these consequences, compensation may be available for you. Call the experienced Chicago trucking accident attorneys of Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900. We are dedicated to helping you obtain the funds you need to help you move forward with your life.