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CSA 2010 - How does the Unsafe Driving BASIC work?

The first Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) discussed in all of the CSA 2010 (Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010) educational materials is the "Unsafe Driving BASIC." The reason this BASIC is given the top billing is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) belief that driver behavior is one of the largest contributing factors when it comes to crashes.

While this BASIC seems self explanatory, there are many misunderstandings related to it.

What data goes into the Unsafe BASIC?

The Unsafe Driving BASIC uses traffic violations noted on roadside inspection reports to calculate driver and carrier performance. This has nothing to do with the driver receiving a "warning," "citation," or "ticket." Warnings and citations are a totally different matter, having to do with the driver's license, not the CSA 2010 data collection system. To sum this up, if a moving violation is noted on a roadside inspection report, the violation will be entered into the driver's and carrier's Unsafe Driving BASIC in the CSA 2010 data system.

Examples of traffic violations that you may find in the Unsafe Driving BASIC include reckless driving, speeding, following too close, improper passing or turning, failure to obey traffic control device or yield right-of-way, failing to stop at a railroad crossing (when required), failed to use caution for hazardous condition, and failing to use seat belt while operating CMV.

How much data will be going into this BASIC? In 2008, 950,000 traffic enforcement violations were noted on roughly 750,000 roadside inspection reports.

Safety measurement begins with ‘valuing' violations

Whenever a traffic violation is placed into the system, the violation is "valued" in the driver and carrier Safety Measurement Systems (SMS) using severity and time weighting. The severity weighting is based on the violation's relationship to crash causation (reckless driving has a severity weight of 10, which is the maximum, while failure to wear a seatbelt has a severity of 1, the minimum).

Time weighting involves placing more value to violations that have happened recently. All violations remain in the carrier's data for 24 months (36 months for drivers), but a violation's "value" reduces over time due to the time weighting system. Events that occurred in the last six months are given a time weight of 3, while events that took place between 6 and 12 months ago are given a time weight of 2, and anything that happened over a year ago is given a time weight of 1.

To determine the "value" of a violation, the severity weighting for the violation is multiplied by the time weighting to determine the "value" of the violation in the SMS.

Totaling, measuring, and comparing

If a carrier has more than three roadside inspections that note a traffic violation, the value for all violations is totaled, and then the total is divided by the number of power units the carrier operates. This "normalizing" process generates a BASIC Measure (violation value per unit) that allows all carriers to be compared to each other.

Once a carrier's BASIC Measure has been determined, the carrier is then compared to other carriers in their "Peer Group." The Peer Groups are based on the number of power units. Carriers with 1 to 5 trucks are compared to all other carriers with 1 to 5 trucks, and then "Percentile Ranked" inside their Peer Group based on their BASIC Measure. This percentile ranking is the carrier's actual "BASIC Score." If a carrier's BASIC Score is above a predetermined threshold, an intervention will be triggered.

Drivers' Unsafe BASIC Measures are determined simply by totaling all violation values. The BASIC Measures are then placed in ascending order and transformed into percentiles from 0 (representing the lowest BASIC measure) to 100 (representing the highest BASIC measure).

How do I make sure I get a low BASIC Measure?

The simple answer is to make sure your drivers do not receive traffic violations on roadside inspection reports, especially the "high severity violations" (violations that have a close relationship to crash causation).

However, to actually accomplish this will require several actions, starting with setting the bar by doing initial training on safe and compliant driving (training on traffic regulations, defensive driving, and the safety regulations) and meaningful road testing (road tests that are scored and can be failed for unsafe or noncompliant driving). These simple actions will let drivers know that you are serious about how they are operating the vehicles.

Ongoing educational communications and training will also help to keep violations out of this BASIC. Ongoing educational communications and training is where the initial attitude and behaviors developed when the driver started with the company are reinforced or built on, and how bad habits are headed off before they develop.

Tracking driver performance and taking corrective action when necessary is also a key strategy to keep this BASIC under control. Using a "How am I driving" system, using road observations, and tracking vehicle performance data are all methods that can be used to determine if a driver is not operating safely and compliantly. If you discover that a driver is not operating safely and compliantly, you must have a mechanism in place to retrain the driver. The retraining system will need to include a "follow-up mechanism" to verify that the driver's behavior was actually corrected. If the violations are severe enough, or continue after the retraining, of course you will need to decide if retaining the driver is even an option.

If you are not doing driver training, road testing, and tracking driver performance, and the first indication that you have a driver that is operating unsafely is when the violation shows up on a roadside inspection report, the damage is already done.

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