The ABCs of CSA BASIC Dangerous Driving


Dangerous driving behaviors by commercial vehicle drivers were cited more than 250,000 times last year by law enforcement under the FMCSA’s CSA program.1 And these are the behaviors that have been detected, representing a mere fraction of the total number of dangerous driving events that occur each year.

It is essential to consider these staggering figures, because the behaviors listed in the BASIC category of dangerous driving of the CSA have a strong correlation with the risk of accident. For example, one study identified that carriers above the dangerous driving action threshold experienced a 93% increase in their accident rate compared to the national average.2 When fleets allow these behaviors, it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs.

Carriers can, however, improve their scores. But first, let’s look at the ABCs of dangerous driving BASIC.

A is for responsibility

The third letter of CSA is an “A”, which stands for responsibility. The program is designed to put drivers and carriers figuratively “in the driver’s seat”.

B is for behavior modification

The first word in the BASIC acronym is “behaviour”. Measuring and changing unsafe behavior is the goal of the CSA program. Improving business processes, organizational culture, and profitability requires behavior change. It’s the saying “keep doing the same things, keep getting the same results. Unfortunately, when it comes to dangerous driving, failure to improve behavior can mean a greater likelihood of accidents, legal disputes costly, lost productivity due to out of service orders, fines and high driver turnover.

C is for common violations

More than fifty different violations are associated with the dangerous driving BASIC, and the order of common violations remains almost the same from year to year. But not all violations are created equal – some behaviors are more dangerous than others. The most dangerous behaviors (those most likely to result in an accident) have a higher severity rate in the CSA methodology. Severity ratings are listed on a scale of 1 to 10, with the behaviors most likely to cause accidents having a severity rating of 10.

Top 10 Dangerous Driving Behaviors (cited over 6,000 times per year)

Description of offense

Severity rate

Speeding 6 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

4

Non-compliance with the traffic control device

5

Violation of lane restrictions

3

Speeding 11 to 14 miles per hour over the speed limit.

7

Speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.

ten

Failure to maintain lane

5

Speeding/construction zone.

ten

Parking and/or leaving a vehicle illegally on the road

1

follow too closely

5

bad lane change

5

Top 3 dangerous driving behaviors – by severity (cited between 7,000 and 30,000 times per year)

Description of offense

Severity rate

Speeding 15 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.

ten

Speeding/construction zone.

ten

Speeding 11 to 14 miles per hour over the speed limit.

7

How can you improve your dangerous driving CSA scores?

The power lies in understanding how to discover, identify and use key metrics to improve behaviors.

Lever technology

Today’s vehicle technology, such as road-facing and driver-facing cameras, electronic logging devices (ELDs) and real-time location (GPS), have been designed to help carriers and drivers operate much more safely than a few years ago. They capture a wealth of data related to dangerous driving, including speeding, refusal to yield and hard braking – three of the most important indicators contributing to the risk of future accidents.

Track and analyze your data

Although the technology mentioned above generates a huge amount of data, it is essential to know what data is noise and what are your crucial security levers. Tracking data lives in the space of “winners keep score”. Companies that effectively change behavior “know the score” at the driver, terminal, store, driver and dispatcher levels. Trending your data answers these questions and helps you determine if corrective actions are having an impact.

Insurers are keen to know your compliance trends and whether you are using technology. In this area, no news is not good news. Without data to back up your security program, underwriters will assume the technology isn’t in place or your data paints a high-risk picture. If you are using technology to operate more securely and can prove your success, consider letting the underwriter know. It could add to your bottom line.

Arrange training — and more

Regulations – sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly – require driver training. Training occurs initially when a driver is onboard, when required by law, and must occur repeatedly to keep them alert and to address dangerous driving. Corn to correct risky driving, you need to know when it’s happening – a perfect opportunity for a dash cam. So, again, technology is the best way to discover, remedy, and record your efforts to keep motorists safe.

No matter how safe you think your operation is, there’s always room for improvement. During a compliance audit or review, FMCSA will determine whether or not your operation has sufficient “safety management controls” in place. If you are unsure if these controls are in place or if your CSA BASIC scores are high, request your free copy of JJ Keller’s DOT Audit electronic workbook. It provides a wealth of information to help you establish sufficient security management controls and get your CSA BASIC scores below the threshold.

1 FMCSA Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). Roadside Inspections, Driver Violations (2021 – Calendar) Data overview as of December 21, 2021, including current cumulative information for CY 2021. Taken from https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SafetyProgram/spViolation.aspx?rpt=RDDV.

2 US Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) effectiveness test by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). January 2014. Page 4. Excerpt from https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/CSMS_Effectiveness_Test_Final_Report.pdf.

About JJ Keller & Associates, Inc.

Since our beginnings as a family business in 1953, our goal at JJ Keller & Associates, Inc. has been to protect people and the businesses they lead. Today, serving more than 500,000 businesses in North America, our associates are proud to make a bigger impact than ever before. Transportation, construction and industrial organizations of all sizes rely on our expert knowledge to create safe working environments and simplify complex government regulations. They trust our diverse portfolio of solutions – cloud-based management tools, consulting, professional services, training, forms, PPE and safety supplies – to protect workers, reduce risk and build operational confidence. www.jjkeller.com

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