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Vehicle Maintenance BASIC (Cargo-Related)

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Apex Encourages Motor Carriers to be Attentive to CSA Scores While CSA Debate Continues

Apex Capital supports the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT). ASECTT is a group of shippers, carriers, brokers and allied industry participants calling for a critical analysis of the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, and a step back from its current use until that analysis is complete.

According to the ASECTT, ASECTT’s members “are concerned that while CSA’s SMS methodology is a work in progress, portions of it have been released to the public without proper vetting, including but not limited to, the most basic scientific and statistical studies necessary to justify a nexus between the compliance violations measured in each of the so-called 7 BASICs and crash predictability.”

Apex shares ASECTT’s concerns.  But while the CSA debate continues, obtaining and maintaining favorable CSA scores will remain important to motor carriers. For that reason, Apex launched a series of eight blogs on February 6, 2013 regarding the seven CSA Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to encourage clients to be attentive to their CSA scores.

The FMCSA recently released new materials intended to assist motor carriers in identifying and addressing their safety and compliance issues.  These materials include seven Safety Management Cycle (SMC) job aids originally created for agency enforcement personnel.  There is one job aid for each of six of the BASICs and two for the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC: “Inspection-Repair-Maintenance” and “Cargo-Related.”

Establishing proper Policies and Procedures is the first step a motor carrier must take to utilize the SMC job aids to enhance CSA scores.  This is one of a series of eight releases listing the Policies and Procedures a motor carrier should have in place as indicated by the SMC job aid for a specified BASIC. To learn more about the SMC job aids, and a full SMC analysis performed by FMCSA safety investigators, please visit the Resources page on the FMCSA’s CSA website at

Vehicle Maintenance BASIC (Cargo-Related)

The SMC job aid for the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC (Cargo Related) indicates that the following Policies and Procedures should be in place:

  • Drivers should submit copies of all roadside inspections to management within 24 hours.
  • All employees involved with loading of cargo should complete annual training on cargo handling, loading, and securement.
  • Drivers should be provided with detailed procedures for load-limit verification, loading/unloading, securement, and en-route inspections. The procedures should address steps to be taken when the shipper will not allow the driver to check out the load—for example, if the driver is not allowed on the shipper’s property and containers are sealed.
  • Management should assure that purchasing agents supply, verify, and communicate requirements for adequate securement devices, equipment, and spare parts.
  • When accepting a load, appropriate personnel should set accurate expectations with customers regarding the time needed to ensure the integrity of the cargo. When possible, appropriate personnel should promptly notify customers in advance when changed circumstances will cause expectations not to be met.  If advance notice is not possible, appropriate personnel should promptly provide explanations for unmet expectations to customers after the fact.

Other CSA Series Posts:

Driver Fitness BASIC

Crash Indicator BASIC

Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC

Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC

Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC

Unsafe Driving BASIC

Vehicle Maintenance BASIC (Inspection-Repair-Maintenance)