For the first time there’s some hard data on the effectiveness of BASIC scores to predict crashes and fatalities

“Arlington, VA – The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) today released a report examining the relationship between motor carrier CSA scores and actual crash involvement. The research expands upon previous investigations by introducing a sophisticated statistical analysis that provides more accurate and direct results.
ATRI assessed all five public BASICs, finding a strong safety relationship for the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs; partial support for the Controlled Substances and Alcohol BASIC; and no statistical support for the Driver Fitness BASIC. In fact, the data show that, as a carrier’s Driver Fitness record improves, that carrier’s crash rate goes up. “ATRI’s research identifies a key weakness in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System,” said Scott Mugno, Vice President of Safety, FedEx Ground who testified on behalf of the ATA at a Congressional Subcommittee on CSA last month. “The conclusions in ATRI’s study support what many motor carriers have found to be true in their operations – namely, that scores in the CSA Driver Fitness BASIC do not bear a statistical correlation to crash risk. However, the industry has always supported CSA where it does reduce crash risk and ATRI’s study validates that there are portions of CSA that are working as intended.”
Recognizing the flaws in current CSA profiles, ATRI proposes an alternative method for communicating fleet safety information to the public in a way that more accurately reflects carrier safety performance.

A copy of this report is available from ATRI at

ATRI is the trucking industry’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit research organization. It is engaged in critical research relating to freight transportation’s essential role in maintaining a safe, secure and efficient transportation system”


In my opinion, this should not come as a surprise to anyone.
1 – Too many moving violations is probably the single most effective predictor of crash involement. ‘
2 – Even though the fatigued driving BASIC is almost always catching people with form and manner violations, it’s easy to imagine how bad RODs are directly tied to crashes, and now they have proven it.
3 – Maintenance violations – clearly the most refined element of CSA, as this is based on decades of experience doing roadside inspections.
4 – If the drug and alcohol BASIC was tied to something meaningful it would be HUGE. It’s just that it’s hard (OK, impossible) to test this on a roadside. The only thing that shows up on a roadside is if some dumdum gets caught with a broken six-pack in the truck. And that’s usually not even a CDL driver. I’m not a bit surprised the correlation is lower here.
5 – Driver qualification – the only thing that shows up here is drivers who forget their DOT Cards (OK, sometimes they get drivers who are suspended or revoked, but not much).

So, how COULD the DOT fix these two BASICs? (D & A and DQ) – because the real carelessness and lack of compliance only shows up in the office. Any suggestions?


About DOT Compliance Help Inc
Phone: 847-836-6063 web: e-mail DOT Compliance Help, Inc. is a full-service consulting firm specializing in the interpretation and execution of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. •Mission Statement• To assist our clients in establishing proper safety management controls in order to minimize accidents, injuries, and fatalities. The ultimate goals are safer roadways for the public and increased profits for our clients. Our core consulting competencies include FMCSA Assessments (mock audits), DOT compliance training (on-site and via webinar) and custom safety plans and policies. We also hold DOT compliance workshops and conferences all across the country. Utilizing a proprietary curriculum developed by our President, Mike England, our classes cover everything you need to know about the FMCSRs, how to survive your next DOT Compliance Review, and how Comprehensive safety Analysis (CSA 2010) will affect you.

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