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Legal Blog

7 BASICs for Trucking Companies and Drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability program continuously gathers and updates data regarding seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. For each category, trucking companies receive a score that ranks them against other carriers. Each of these scores can then be used by trucking companies, law enforcement agencies, and sometimes the public to better understand a carrier’s overall safety or poor behavior. If you were involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle, you may be very interested in that carrier’s BASIC scores, since it may provide additional evidence of the driver’s or trucking company’s negligence. To learn more about how the one or more of the seven BASICs may affect your personal injury case, contact the Houston truck accident lawyers of The Krist Law Firm, P.C. at (281) 283-8500.

What Are the Seven FMCSA BASIC Categories?

The FMCSA BASICs include:

  • Unsafe driving, which looks at speeding, reckless driving, improper lane changes, seatbelt, and other traffic violations.
  • Crash indicator, which rates a trucking company’s history of crashes.
  • Hours-of-service compliance, which ranks a carrier based on violations of hour-of-service regulations, including logbook.
  • Vehicle maintenance, which ranks carriers based on maintenance violations such as brakes, lights, defects, and failure to make repairs.
  • Controlled substances/alcohol, which looks at the instances of drivers being charged with the use or possession of alcohol or controlled substances while driving.
  • Hazardous materials compliance, which rank carriers regarding improper packaging or warnings and leaking containers.
  • Driver fitness, which rates trucking companies for drivers having valid licenses and being physically and medically capable of operating a commercial vehicle.

BASICs Rankings

For each category, a trucking company is given a percentile between 0 and 100. The higher the carrier’s percentile, the worse its performance compared to other companies. For instance, a trucking company that is in the 90th percentile of all trucking companies is worse at that specific BASIC category than 89 percent of the other carrier’s measured.

This could be relevant to your personal injury case if you need to prove that a driver or trucking company was negligent in some way. For instance, a trucking company with a higher crash indicator percentile will have been part of more crashes and more serious crashes. This can help you demonstrate that the carrier responsible for your injuries has a history of poor performance and negligence. Or if the crash that caused your injuries was caused by a drunk truck driver, then the trucking company’s controlled substances/alcohol percentile may be relevant. A high percentile may be used to demonstrate that the trucking company does not monitor its truckers for alcohol or drug abuse or keeps truckers with known issues on staff.

Not All BASICs Rankings are Available to the Public

The Crash Indicator BASIC measures how one trucking company ranks compared to other carriers with similar amounts of traffic accidents. The FMCSA utilizes state-reported crashes that meet reportable crash standards to look at the consequences of behaviors or sets of behaviors that contribute to a trucking company’s crash history. The more crashes a trucking company is involved in, the higher its percentile ranking and the lower its overall safety compliance.

The Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC looks at the roadside safety violations for failing to properly:

  • Mark, label, or placard hazardous materials,
  • Secure hazardous materials,
  • Use the proper cargo tank,
  • Load and unload hazardous materials, and
  • ix leaks.

To gain information about the motor carrier’s hazardous materials procedures, the FMCSA may conduct a safety investigation and request documentation from the trucking company.

The Crash Indicator and Hazardous Materials BASICs are currently only available to motor carriers and law enforcement agencies, not the public. Therefore, you cannot simply look them up online when they may be relevant to your personal injury case. However, if this rating might be important, your attorney can use the discovery process during a personal injury lawsuit to obtain it.

Call Our Houston Truck Accident Lawyers for Help

If you were injured in an accident caused by a trucker’s or trucking company’s negligence, do not hesitate to call our Houston truck accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about your rights and legal options. Through a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, we can help you seek compensation for your:

  • Medical costs
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Physical pain
  • Mental anguish
  • Physical limitations
  • Disfigurement

Our goal will be to build you the strongest case possible so that we can obtain you the maximum compensation for your injuries. Call us today at (281) 283-8500 to learn more.