Understanding the “New” BASIC Scores

Here is a question that I received regarding my most recent post on the newly released Absolute CSA BASIC measures. It was important, so I wanted to clarify for everyone:

“Hey Sam, I am a little confused by your suggestion that Absolute Measures will somehow provide valuable information as to whether a carrier is safe or not. For example a 2.02 for Unfit Driver used in the example would put that carrier at 70% and over threshold in the old CSA scoring. How can you say that would be considered safe?”

First and foremost, we all have to reprogram our brains a bit to re-learn about what these new numbers mean compared to the old numbers that we understood.

These new measures are only basing the carrier’s performance against themselves, not against other carriers directly.
So, a 2.02 UD BASIC number translating into a 70% is now irrelevant.
You have to now look at that 2.02 in relation to how close that number is to 0.
Then, look at how that number compares to the carrier’s past performance. Is it trending up or down or not really moving at all?
I’m not saying that 2.02 is a good number, a bad number or anywhere in between….and the FMCSA doesn’t want you to make that call either.
I’ve done some testing to see what the reference range looks like for what I would have previously considered good operations and operations that need improvement under the old system.
The really tough risks (that I know from personal experience and some others that I just randomly sampled were showing something around a 5 to a 6.
Some of the best were showing like a .32.

Go back and re-read my recent article about the newly proposed SFD regulations and this new framework will make more sense. Direct carrier comparisons are going by the wayside in lieu of comparing a carrier to themselves and how they have performed historically. This is going to be especially important in determining a “pattern of non-compliance” for use in seeing if a motor carrier will fail a BASIC category based on their roadside inspection performance alone.

The worst performing motor carriers in each Safety Event Group (above the 96% or 99% threshold in each category) are the ones that will now be considered the highest risk and subject to more swift inspection and enforcement actions.

This is going to be a whole new regulatory enchilada!!

To read the prior article, please click here.  


Want to learn more? Give us a call at 855-211-5550! We can help you navigate the increasingly complex world of DOT compliance and fleet safety!


Increase Compliance    Reduce Costs      Save Lives


Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc.





Sam Tucker is the founder and CEO of Carrier Risk Solutions, Inc., an Atlanta, Georgia based transportation compliance and risk management startup. Prior to this venture, Sam spent 13 years underwriting trucking and logistics accounts at some of the most well known insurance companies. He holds degrees in Business Economics and Finance/Risk Management as well as multiple professional insurance designations. Carrier Risk Solutions’ innovative compliance and safety management platform can be found online at www.MySafetyManager.com. Reach Sam by email at STucker@CarrierRiskSolutions.com.