So you noticed, or your employer told you, that your CSA 2010 BASICs score was too high and they were going to have to let you go. You are speechless because you are a good driver and have not had any tickets in the past three years, no accidents or drug/alcohol test violations.
What just happened, how did it happen and what can you do to try to fix the problem?
What happened is you were caught up in the great CSA 2010 roundup of drivers with too many points in their BASIC’s. What the heck is that? If you don’t know about the CSA 2010 BASIC’s by now, then as they say in the Deep South; “Boy, you in a heap a trouble!”
Let’s look at what they are to get a quick and dirty understanding of why you are now looking for work.
The Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories is what are called BASICs. Drivers’ BASICs scores reflect their safety behavior. Information for BASICs scores comes from the roadside, so whether the result is a clean inspection, a citation or a warning for a violation, all information gathered during the roadside inspection affects your score as well as your carrier’s score.
The BASICs include:
1) Unsafe driving such as careless or dangerous operation
2) Fatigued driving such as Hours of Service violations
3) Driver fitness such as training, experience or medical qualification
4) Controlled substances and alcohol such as DUI, illegal drugs and misuse of prescription drugs,
5) Vehicle maintenance such as improper or inadequate maintenance
6) Loading/Cargo Securement such as shifting or spilled cargo, unsafe handling of hazmat, or oversize/overweight violations, and
7) Crash/Incident Experience such as patterns of crash involvement.
Enough about what you should already know and be concerned about, let’s look at how and why your score cost you your job. And by the way, not just your current job but just about any job in trucking because your score follows you for 36 months, it is weighted so the newest violation carries the most weight and all this information is available to every trucking employer you ask for a job.
For all the drivers out there thinking this is no big deal, I have heard of outlandish numbers from reputable organization such as 100,000 to 200,000 current drivers will be out of the CDL driver pool as early as 2011. Could you be one?
Your BASICs score is influenced by every roadside inspection you have had within the last 36 months. That warning for speeding you received at a roadside inspection even though you had a clean Level One inspection carries the same BASIC’s points as a conviction. More importantly, if the speeding noted on the inspection report is not broken down to a specific speed, then you receive a flat 5 points to your score. All the points for roadside inspection BASICs can be found at: http://csa2010.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf.
This is where you can find out how many points it will cost you for a violation, and it was updated last on Aug. 16.
Let’s look at some of those points so you can see what you might be looking at if you receive a warning for speeding. These are found in Table 1 of the CSA 2010 document mentioned above. Speeding with no speed assigned is 5 points, while if you were lucky and the officer put down a specific speed then you can get lower points if your speed was lower. An example would be speeding over the posted limit of 1-5 you get 1 point, 6-10 you get 4 points, 11-15 you get 7 points and over 15 you get 10 points.
What can you do to fix the problem? Currently, if you get a warning there is nothing you can do to contest that warning versus an actual violation such as a 392.7 No Pre-Trip Inspection would cost you 4 points.
The way you will be able to contest any points on your BASICs is through DataQ. That website is https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/login.asp.
That is where you will go to contest your BASICs which supply the information to your Pre-Employment Screening Program or PSP which will contain all your employment, crashes and drug/alcohol tests for the past five years.
No longer will a driver fail or refuse a drug/alcohol test, get fired and then go get a job with another company. That new employer will check your PSP, see that failure or refusal and decide not to hire you.
What can you do to help yourself? First, obey the law and expect problems with the PSP and the CSA 2010 BASICs while they are getting started. Expect errors in the system. Second, if you find an error or receive a roadside inspection that has any violations on it, you will need to contest those violations on your DataQ. Third, you will need to fight every ticket you get as well and roadside inspections that are not perfect. What happens if you fail to protect yourself? You will not be working in trucking for long.
Jim C. Klepper is president of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. He is also president of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at discounted rates. He works to answer your legal questions about trucking and life over-the-road and has his Commercial Drivers License.
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