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The Hidden Meaning Behind CSA's "Driver Fitness"

The misleading name of the Driver Fitness BASIC in the CSA safety initiative makes it the most misunderstood of the seven BASICs. Drivers may believe their physical fitness and wellness are the only topics being considered. Rather, the focus of this BASIC is ensuring drivers have the right paperwork to back up their training, experience and medical qualifications. The importance of this BASIC cannot be understated - twelve of the sixteen CSA "red flag" violations are directly related to Driver Fitness.

Specifically, the Driver Fitness BASIC addresses six criteria:

  • Medical certificate – Have an official, updated medical certificate.
  • Out-of-service orders – Operation only within designated in-service hours.
  • Driver qualification – Drivers must be properly qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle.
  • Endorsements and vehicle group – Holding proper endorsements for the vehicle being driven.
  • Multiple license – Each driver must possess only one driver’s license.
  • Physical – Do not drive while sick; keep medical certificate current.
To keep drivers accountable for health issues, the sixth topic, physical, was set in place.  The FMCSA is not authorized to restrict drivers based on BMI or weight. However, factors such as BMI and weight are important in determining risk for certain medical conditions such as diabetes which require special exemptions. According to the BASIC, drivers must simply be medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle. Ultimately, properly licensed drivers are covered. So, before your next trip, make sure your medical certificate, license, and endorsements are correct and up to date.