What are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Changes for December?
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
Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category
(BASIC) by incorporating cargo/load securement violations from today's Cargo-Related
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
- Separate crashes with injuries from crashes with fatalities. This eliminates the
potentially misleading interpretation that a carrier has more fatalities than it
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.
Lowering the severity weight for generic speeding violations
- The severity weight will be lowered to 1 for violations.
Aligning paper and electronic logbook violations
- FMCSA will equally weight paper and electronic logbook violations in SMS for consistency
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
(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
- 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
- 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.