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Everything You Need to Know About FMCSA Intervention Thresholds
Mariah Barr
5 mins read

As you know, there are many rules and regulations to comply with in the industry, from DOT record-keeping requirements to the physical condition of your drivers.

But one of your most significant concerns? FMCSA intervention thresholds.

If you’re not familiar with them, these thresholds are strong indicators of your company’s risk of crashes, and your overall safety fitness level.

Exceeding intervention thresholds can put you on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) priority lists, and result in fines and violations. If they are bad enough—and worse, if you don’t do anything about them—they could even put you out of business. 

FMCSA Intervention Thresholds & Crash Risk

Intervention thresholds are based on seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentiles. These are set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scoring program.

These seven BASICs include:

  • Unsafe Driving – Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, inattention, or failure to use seatbelts
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance
  • Crash Indicator – History of crash involvement
  • Driver fitness – Invalid license, medically unfit to operate a CMV
  • Controlled substances/alcohol – Use or possession
  • Vehicle maintenance – Failure to make necessary repairs
  • Hazardous materials compliance – Leaking containers, improper packaging, and/or placarding

Need more details on these BASICs and how they impact your DOT compliance? Our eBook explains their impact on your CSA score and recordkeeping requirements.

Based on relation to crash risk, the FMCSA has determined the following intervention thresholds for each of those BASICs:

  • Unsafe Driving, HOS Compliance, and Crash Indicator: 65% (with percentiles of 50% for passenger vehicles and 60% for hazardous materials vehicles);
  • Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, and Vehicle Maintenance: 80% (with percentiles of 65% for passenger vehicles and 75% for hazardous materials vehicles);
  • Hazardous Materials Compliance: 80%

How FMCSA Thresholds Are Set

Carrier safety performance in the SMS system is based on the previous 24 months of on-road performance, inspection and crash data, as well as any Acute and Critical Violations found during investigations over the last 12 months.

As expected, more recent inspections weigh more heavily on SMS calculations. Violations are broken down into three time periods: Those that occurred within the last 6 months; those that occurred between 6 months and 1 year ago; and those older than 12 months, but more recent than 24 months.

Carriers are then grouped by BASIC with other carriers with a similar number of safety events, and then assigned a percentile from 0 to 100 prioritizing them for interventions.

Exceeding FMCSA Thresholds: The Consequences & What You Can Do

On-road performance, investigation results, annual audits, and safety events such as International Roadcheck can all result in a carrier being identified for CSA interventions.

During any of these, a company could also be given “Conditional” or “Unsatisfactory” ratings, which puts them at increased risk for audits, not to mention more scrutiny from auditors, inspectors, and federal entities. Then there are the fines and potential lost business from carrying such a negative reputation.

Companies like yours can improve their BASIC thresholds by demonstrating improved performance at roadside inspections and remaining violation-free so that their poor inspections eventually fall outside the 24-month timeframe.

They can also increase their standing when going an entire year without any BASIC violations—this is particularly important when it comes to the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs. The SMS also stops flagging motor carriers a year after Acute or Critical Violations have been issued.

Stay off the FMCSA's Radar with Foley

It can be confusing to understand all these FMCSA regulations and their various consequences. Ensure that you and your drivers are informed of the BASICs. Also, remain vigilant about the physical condition of your fleet.

You can also boost your chances of passing DOT audits and improving your FMCSA safety rating by partnering with Foley.

The Foley Audit Risk Monitor keeps track of where you stand with the FMCSA, and if you're at risk of an audit due to your BASICs performance.

Contact us today or request a FREE DOT compliance software demo to learn how we can help you remain in good standing when it comes to the BASICs and stay below FMCSA intervention thresholds!

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