What is the Driver Fitness BASIC? | Apex Capital Trucking Blog

What is the Driver Fitness BASIC?

by Apex Capital | March 27, 2013

Does Driver Fitness have anything to do with personal fitness?

One of the seven categories that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) bases their Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) ranking on is the Driver Fitness Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC).

Driver Fitness, as it’s called, is best understood as ratings based on the operation of commercial motor vehicles based on a driver’s training, experience, or medical qualification. This BASIC doesn’t necessarily refer to a driver’s ability to run a mile, but does include physicals and medical clearance.

A few examples of roadside safety violations that may cause a motor carrier to rank poorly in driver fitness include lack of a valid and proper commercial driver’s license (CDL) or being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. For a list of frequently asked medical questions according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration visit http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/medical/faqs.aspx

Click here for a Driver Fitness BASIC Factsheet.

Top 10 most common driver fitness violations:

  • No medical card in driver’s possession
  • Non-English-speaking driver
  • Expired medical examiner’s certificate
  • Driving without a CDL
  • Driver lacking valid license for type of vehicle being driven
  • Driving a CMV while disqualified
  • Driver lacking physical qualification(s)
  • Unqualified driver
  • Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified
  • Driver disqualified from operating a CMV

source: 2009 report published on JJKeller.com

“To avoid driver fitness violations, JJKeller.com suggests:

  • Carry your documentation. Whenever you drive a CMV, you need to carry your medical card and driver’s license to prove that you’re qualified.
  • Watch those expiration dates! Your license, medical certificate, and hazmat endorsement are no longer valid after their expiration dates — there is no grace period! Don’t rely on someone else to remind you of an expiration date. Track the dates yourself so you never miss a deadline.
  • Meet the standards. Take charge of your qualifications and make sure you’re always qualified to be behind the wheel.
  • Stay fit. Stay in good enough physical condition to pass the DOT medical exam, now and in the future. Take advantage of any wellness programs that are offered.
  • Is your license valid? If you’re convicted of an offense, make sure it’s not on the lists of disqualifying offenses in §391.15 (for all CMV drivers) or §383.51 (for CDL drivers). If you’ve been disqualified, stay off the road!
  • Are you trained? Entry-level driver training is required for all interstate CDL drivers who have less than one year of experience. In addition, hazmat training is required for employees who affect hazardous materials transportation.
  • Carry the right license. Make sure your license is valid for every type of vehicle you operate. For example, if you have a Class B license but you need to operate a tractor trailer, you’ll need to get a Class A license first. Or if you normally operate a motor coach.”

Driver health is only one element of the Driver Fitness BASIC. To ensure you’re in compliance review the Safety Management Cycle for the Driver Fitness BASIC and conduct frequent and comprehensive checks.

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