Understanding Common Terms Used In Trucking Litigation

To better help you understand your tractor-trailer accident case, below are a number of common terms used in trucking litigation.

USDOT or DOT:    This stands for The United States Department of Transportation.  Keep in mind that there are also State departments of transportation as well.  For example, in Georgia, GDOT stands for the Georgia Department of Transportation.

FMCSA:    Stands for The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  This is the main Federal government entity that regulates the trucking industry by establishing industry regulations and standards for both drivers and trucking companies regarding safety.  It is an arm of the USDOT.

CSA:    Stands for Compliance, Safety, Accountability.  It is a program created by the FMCSA in 2010 to improve safety in an effort to reduce truck and tractor-trailer accidents.  It is a nationwide safety system using 7 safety improvement categories to monitor trucking company safety compliance.

BASICs:   The 7 safety improvement categories monitored by CSA is called Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories.  This system assigns a score to each trucking company based on the programs criteria for each category.  100 is the worst BASIC score possible and 0 is the best score.  Examples of the criteria used to assign safety scores includes Driver Fitness; Crash Indicator; Hours of Service Compliance; Unsafe Driving and Vehicle Maintenance.

Motor Carrier:    A person (usually a company) providing motor vehicle transportation for compensation.  This is the same thing as the trucking company in most cases.

Broker:   Someone other than the motor carrier itself that arranges and sells motor vehicle transportation for compensation.  Think middle man who gets shippers of product or material together with trucking companies that can haul their goods for them for compensation.

SMS:   Stands for the Safety Measurement System.  This is the system that evaluates roadside performance data to calculate the BASICs scores.

If you are looking for more information on truck accident and tractor-trailer accident claims and cases, please visit our Learning Center.  Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers are also available to provide you with a free consultation if you would prefer to speak to someone about your claim or case.