Frequently Asked Questions
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are questions and answers about Compliance,
Safety, Accountability (CSA) that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA) compiled to assist the public. As questions come in through the website,
FMCSA adds them to the database along with their answers. If you do not see your
question or topic addressed, please
by submitting a feedback form. We will respond to you directly and consider your
question for inclusion in the FAQs.
The FAQ area has recently been enhanced. Users can now search FAQs by stakeholder
group, topics (displayed on the left side of the page), or by entering a keyword
below. Choosing “Show All” will display the entire collection of FAQs.
How does an investigation work?
There are three types of investigations: Offsite, Onsite Focused, and Onsite Comprehensive.
Offsite Investigations are conducted over the phone and through email, fax, and
mail, while Onsite Focused and Onsite Comprehensive Investigations are conducted
at a carrier's place of business.
The investigation process is similar for all investigation types. A Federal or State
Safety Investigator (SI) reviews a motor carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS)
data, the specific violations that compose the SMS, and the motor carrier's intervention
history. Next, the SI interviews representatives from the motor carrier over the
phone and/or in person and reviews selected documents. The SI engages in these activities
to examine the carrier's operations for compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations and to determine, with the carrier's participation, the organizational
process breakdowns that are triggering the carrier's safety violations. The SI will
determine the appropriate follow-on intervention(s) (e.g., Notice of Claim, Notice
of Violation, and/or CSP). In addition, the SI will discuss with the carrier how
it might improve its operations so that its SMS percentile ranks will improve.