BASIC Score Review


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed the Safety Measurement system (SMS) that uses seven Behaviors and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) measurements. These numerical scores represent the motor carriers’ compliance efforts within the seven areas and are used by the FMCSA to prioritize carriers for interventions. There have been research studies that have validated the relationship between the BASIC scores and crash frequency.

The seven BASIC measurements are:

In each BASIC, the SMS calculates a quantifiable measure of a motor carrier’s performance. The SMS groups carriers by BASIC with other carriers that have a similar number of safety events (e.g., crashes, inspections, or violations). The SMS then ranks these carriers based on their BASIC measure, assigning them a percentile from 0‒100 (the higher the percentile, the worse the safety performance).


The Alert Symbol

Motor carriers highlighted with an “Alert” symbol in the corresponding BASIC are prioritized for interventions or further monitoring.

The data for the BASIC calculations consist of roadside inspections; state reported crash records, investigations conducted by DOT safety investigators and Motor Carrier Census data.

The data for each BASIC element is calculated using assigned weighting factors that reflect the severity of the data point. There are factors for the age of the data point and data is normalized to account for variation in carrier size and frequency of inspections. The methodology of calculation was updated to reflect feedback from the public and users and these new measures were published in February 2016.