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What are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Changes for December?

Truck on the road

Working to Prevent Crashes, Injuries & Fatalities

Nearly two years ago, and at the end of six years in development, 30 months in field-testing and eight months in preview, we completed the national roll out of our Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, also known as CSA. CSA, and its Safety Measurement System, SMS, is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new performance-based, data-driven safety enforcement program; CSA is a better way to save lives. To make our roads safer and sharpen our focus on truck or bus companies that present a high safety risk, FMCSA will implement several improvements to CSA later this year.

Now more than ever, safety is everyone’s business.

Through CSA, FMCSA collects data from 3.5 million roadside inspections and 100,000 crash reports across the country each year and uses all performance data, weighted by time and by relation to future crash risk and consequence, to identify unsafe behaviors and correct them through a new interventions process — before they result in crashes. FMCSA continually invests in safety, reviewing data and stakeholder input for ways to advance CSA’s effectiveness. The new package of improvements to SMS includes:

  1. Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) by incorporating cargo/load securement violations from today's Cargo-Related BASIC

    CSA is making FMCSA’s work more efficient. The proposed approach of moving cargo/load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC offers important benefits. It identifies motor carriers with a higher future crash risk for FMCSA interventions. Also, including the load securement violations into new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC removes the bias in the current Cargo-Related BASIC which has resulted in identifying a disproportionate large number of carriers that haul open trailers (e.g. flatbeds) for interventions. The new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC identifies safety issues across all types of carrier operations.

  2. Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC to the HM Compliance BASIC to better identify HM-related safety and compliance problems

    FMCSA is implementing the HM Compliance BASIC to address motor carriers that do not comply with Federal safety regulations related to properly packaging, transporting, accurately identifying, and communicating hazardous cargo in the event of a crash or spill. The general public is subject to a greater safety risk if HM is involved in a motor carrier crash and unmarked or poorly marked HM cargo can result in less effective emergency response, as well as injuries and fatalities for emergency responders and others.

    • The HM Compliance BASIC identifies carriers with higher HM violation rates (33.8% versus 29.1%) and HM out-of-service rates (5.4% vs. 4.0%) than the current Cargo-Related BASIC.
    • The HM Compliance BASIC will be available to logged-in motor carriers and enforcement personnel in December 2012. Further study over the next year will be conducted before it becomes available to the public.
  3. Better aligning the SMS with Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) regulations

    Drivers carry safety to the road — CSA holds drivers and carriers accountable for safe on-road performance. SMS will be updated to include violations that should be found and addressed during drivers’ pre-trip inspection on intermodal equipment, in order to better identify carriers with compliance issues.

  4. Aligning violations that are included in the SMS with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection levels by eliminating vehicle violations derived from driver-only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections

    In order to support data uniformity and consistency, motor carriers will not be penalized in the SMS for violations cited outside the scope of an inspection. All violations from roadside inspections will continue to be on a carrier’s inspection report, however only violations that fall within the scope of the specific inspections being performed will be used in the SMS.

  5. More accurately identifying carriers that transport significant quantities of HM

    HM can greatly put the public at risk if the carrier is involved in a crash and unmarked or poorly marked HM cargo can result in less effective emergency response, as well as injuries and fatalities for emergency responders and others. This change will help to better focus FMCSA resources on motor carriers involved with HM transportation.

  6. More accurately identifying carriers involved in transporting passengers

    Motor carriers subject to the passenger carrier threshold in the SMS are held to a significantly higher standard than non-passenger carriers. To better ensure the safety of passengers, FMCSA will update the definition of passenger carrier within SMS to enable the Agency to better focus resources on motor carriers involved with passenger transportation.

  7. Modifying the SMS display

    FMCSA is responding to feedback from enforcement and industry to change how fatalities and injuries caused by crashes are presented in SMS, and to stakeholder requests for more specific terminology in the BASICs. In the package of enhancements currently being previewed, the SMS display has been modified to:

    • Change current terminology, “inconclusive” and “insufficient data,” to fact-based descriptions. Fact-based descriptions are easier for stakeholders to understand and interpret and will enable them to take more effective and targeted actions to improve safety.
    • Separate crashes with injuries from crashes with fatalities. This eliminates the potentially misleading interpretation that a carrier has more fatalities than it actually does.
  8. Removing 1 to 5 mph speeding violations

    • FMCSA has aligned speeding violations to be consistent with current speedometer regulations (49 CFR 393.82) that require speedometers to be accurate within 5 mph.
    • Applies to the prior 24 months of data used by SMS and all SMS data moving forward.
  9. Lowering the severity weight for generic speeding violations

    • The severity weight will be lowered to 1 for violations.
  10. Aligning paper and electronic logbook violations

    • FMCSA will equally weight paper and electronic logbook violations in SMS for consistency purposes.
  11. Changing the name of the Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service (HOS)) BASIC to the HOS Compliance BASIC

    • The name change is based on stakeholder feedback and will more accurately reflect violations contained within the BASIC.

Review additional details about the changes in the Foundational Document (PDF, 355 KB).

FMCSA’s commitment to transparency is having results.

FMCSA is committed to continually improving CSA by promoting safety through awareness, education, and early and compelling calls to action.

  • On March 27, 2012, FMCSA published a Federal Register Notice announcing proposed improvements to CSA’s SMS and launched a preview period for enforcement staff and motor carriers before using the new approach to prioritize intervention resources. The preview allowed motor carriers to review their SMS results and called them to action to make safety improvements or, if necessary, submit a data review. Nearly 1700 enforcement personnel and 14,000 carriers participated in the public preview.
  • In May 2012, FMCSA extended the preview period to provide more time to educate and inform motor carriers in order to achieve the full safety benefits of the SMS Package 1 Changes.
  • During May and June 2012, FMCSA sent emails directly to 180,000 motor carriers encouraging them to view the SMS Preview and take early action to identify and correct their safety compliance before the new approach was implemented.
  • On June 26, 27, and 28, FMCSA conducted SMS Preview webinars for more than 650 safety stakeholders.
  • FMCSA collected comments to the Docket through July 31, 2012.

CSA is a change for safety.

SMS has been shown to identify 25% more high-risk carriers than before — and those carriers have 56% more crashes than carriers identified using the previous system, SafeStat. In the enhanced SMS currently being previewed, motor carriers with at least one Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) above FMCSA’s safety Intervention Threshold:

  • Have a 3.9% higher crash rate than those in today’s SMS;
  • Have a 3.6% higher Hazardous Materials (HM) violation rate than under today’s SMS.