Trucking Safety Series: Unsafe Driving
Posted by Cliff J. on May 4, 2016 in Trucker Focus

The FMCSA Compliance Safety and Accountability program has  seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) for motor carriers and truck drivers that are intended to improve highway safety. Our Trucking Safety Series by Acuity’s in-house trucking specialist, Cliff J., is a seven-part series that will highlight each of these BASICs and provide insight into what each one is, and why they are crucial to your trucking business. This month’s BASIC is Unsafe Driving.


Unsafe driving, as defined by the FMCSA BASICs, refers to dangerous or careless operation of commercial motor vehicles. Both motor carriers and drivers alike  are scored based on requirements established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). While nearly all drivers do their best to be safe, this score is recorded to ensure safety stays at the forefront of motor carriers and drivers minds. There are a number of items that go into the unsafe driving score, but the common  safety violations that lead to a poor score are speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattentive driving.


Checking where you rank for unsafe driving is fairly easy. All you need to do is log in to the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). This is found right on the FMCSA website on the SMS homepage. Once logged in, you can review your company’s records that include crashes and other safety violations. Any SMS violations will affect a motor carrier’s score for 24 months and a driver score for 36 months before they are removed. If you are a carrier that has safety compliance problems for unsafe driving, there will be an alert symbol next to that BASIC. You can review your record and dispute any inaccuracies using the DataQ System.


To improve our industry’s safety performance results, it is important that motor carriers and drivers work together. Both must be aware of the regulations related to the unsafe driving BASIC and any violations that have occurred. If either a motor carrier or a driver is showing patterns of noncompliance they should work to improve their performance and compliance with this BASIC.


For more information on improving the Unsafe Driving BASIC see the Safety Management Cycle for this BASIC here. And find the CSA’s Unsafe Driving overview here.


Look for our next Trucking Safety Series piece on Vehicle Maintenance next month. If you have any questions, please email Acuity’s trucking specialist, Cliff J., at

Cliff J. is our Trucking guru
I bring over 30 years of trucking industry experience to Acuity. I worked my way up from driving to managing the safety operations of a transportation company, culminating in owning and managing my own regional trucking company. My main goal at Acuity is to help you, the motor carrier, the owner/operator and the driver better understand the insurance industry and help shape Acuity’s products and services to better meet your needs. I regularly provide ongoing trucking training to Acuity employees to help them understand the unique needs of those in the trucking/transportation industry. With over 30 years in the transportation sector, as both a company driver and as owner and manager of a trucking company, I have first-hand experience that helps me understand the challenges truckers’ face, and detailed knowledge of transportation regulations. My experience coupled with a background in insurance loss control can help answer and provide solutions to any issues that may arise.

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