When it comes to safety, follow the BASICs-Part 2

By: sschnipper June 25, 2024

As featured in FleetOwnerIDEAXCHANGE – Gino Fontana

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA—Compliance, Safety, Accountability—initiative is designed to keep the highways safe. Its BASICs—Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories—cover seven areas for inspectors to check when enforcement personnel perform roadside inspections of trucks requiring CDL drivers.

In my last blog, I talked about the hours of service and unsafe driving BASICs, but the maintenance and driver fitness BASICs are also important.

Vehicle maintenance is something that is nearly 100% controllable by fleet managers. However, the pre- and post-trip inspections drivers are required to perform are a great first line of defense in any fleet’s maintenance program. These inspections can uncover issues that developed while the truck was on the road including connections being loosened, light bulbs burning out, or mudflaps being ripped from road hazards.

Fleet managers or maintenance directors can use preventive maintenance (PM) schedules to ensure vehicles are seen by maintenance personnel on a regular basis. They can also ensure that trucks come in for their scheduled PM service tracking PM compliance. A PM program only works when the trucks are actually brought into the shop for the needed maintenance service and general inspection.

Fleet managers can also analyze their CSA maintenance violations to took look for patterns and then address the issue by modifying their PM service. For example, if a fleet finds that eight of its 20 maintenance violations are for chafing brake lines, it can set up a special inspection and encourage drivers and technicians to place extra emphasis on checking brake lines for chafing during their maintenance inspections and during drivers’ pre- and post-trip inspections.

Analyzing your CSA maintenance violations allows you to see systemic problems that you can then investigate to determine the cause. Did you switch parts suppliers? Did you get a bad batch of replacement parts? Are drivers not being diligent in performing their pre- and post-trip inspections? Are technicians not getting to the root cause of a problem therefore allowing it to recur?

Driver fitness is also a BASIC violation that will prevent drivers from being able to drive. It is about more than just driver health. It is also about maintaining driver qualification files. While drivers are ultimately responsible for maintaining appropriate paperwork, fleet managers can assist them in their efforts. There are several tools and applications available to fleets to help facilitate this process.

While fleet management may not have total control over all of the BASICs, it can leverage education and coaching to ensure drivers and technicians are onboard with helping the fleet reduce its CSA violations.