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CSA - Compliance, Safety, Accountability
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Motor Carriers

It's important that carriers have an understanding (of CSA) so they can talk to their office, talk to their drivers, lay down the consequences for driver performance and work to be compliant.
A Montana motor carrier representative in the Op-Model Test
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How can you ensure safety and compliance?
Check your SMS data online and, if incorrect, request a data review on the DataQs Website. When you check your online data, look for trends and areas that need improvement. Once you have identified these areas, look at your processes and pinpoint whether there are any factors contributing to your safety compliance problems. This page provides further information to help you implement CSA.
Motor Carriers
Click to begin This toolkit provides useful information for Motor Carriers. Scroll through toolkit items by selecting the arrows along the bottom or jump to a specific item by selecting a number. You can also download the entire toolkit as a zipped file by selecting “Download Entire Toolkit” (ZIP, 23.1 MB)
Get Road Smart about CSA: Overview Brochure
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Get Road Smart about CSA: Overview Brochure Get Road Smart about the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, and learn about our safety resources.
Get Road Smart: Drivers and the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program
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Get Road Smart: Drivers and the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Program This PowerPoint presentation gives an overview of the CSA program and its impact to drivers and motor carriers.
Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC Factsheet
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Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC Factsheet This Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Safety Measurement System (SMS) Preview Handout for Motor Carriers
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Safety Measurement System (SMS) Preview Handout for Motor Carriers This handout for motor carriers gives an overview of the SMS Preview, including the proposed SMS changes.
Unsafe Driving BASIC Factsheet
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Unsafe Driving BASIC Factsheet This Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC Factsheet
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Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC Factsheet This Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Driver Fitness BASIC Factsheet
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Driver Fitness BASIC Factsheet This Driver Fitness Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC Factsheet
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Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC Factsheet This Controlled Substances/Alcohol Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Vehicle Maintenance BASIC Factsheet
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Vehicle Maintenance BASIC Factsheet This Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Crash Indicator BASIC Factsheet
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Crash Indicator BASIC Factsheet This Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) factsheet gives an overview of the BASIC for motor carriers and drivers.
Introduction to the Safety Measurement System
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Introduction to the Safety Measurement System This 58 slide PowerPoint presentation gives a very detailed overview of how the Safety Measurement System works. It also touches on most other things related to CSA in less depth.
Just The Facts for Drivers
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Just The Facts for Drivers This two-page PDF is filled with CSA facts that set the record straight on many of the rumors about CSA. Topics include how CSA impacts drivers and how the new SMS works.
Warning Letter Factsheet
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Warning Letter Factsheet This two-page PDF shows what a Warning Letter looks like and then answers several FAQs on Warning Letters.
Warning Letter Tipsheet
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Warning Letter Tipsheet This document provides key information about warning letters and tips for motor carriers to take action to improve their safety operations.
Driver Safety Enforcement: What Motor Carriers Need to Know
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Driver Safety Enforcement: What Motor Carriers Need to Know What Motor Carriers need to know about driver safety enforcement.
French (PDF, 402 KB)
Spanish (PDF, 563 KB)
Safety Measurement System Factsheet
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Safety Measurement System Factsheet Overview of the Safety Measurement System (SMS).
SMS Methodology
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SMS Methodology Learn more about the methodology developed to support CSA.
Appendix A (XLSX, 83 KB)
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The CSA toolkits contain resources to help key stakeholders communicate important, CSA-related information to others who need to know about it. Materials are tailored to each audience, addressing useful information about CSA, such as the SMS, the BASICs, and frequently asked questions. Each toolkit includes different types of documents  briefings, factsheets, brochures, and tipsheets – that can be used for different purposes (i.e. as presentations, handouts, etc.). We encourage you to use any and all documents that are appropriate for your needs. You can download and print individual documents, or download the complete toolkit by selecting the “Download Complete Toolkit” option.

Additional Resources
Motor Carrier Resource Center
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) SMS Icon Safety Measurement System (SMS) CSA Icon

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

  • CSA Overview
  • Interventions
  • SFD
  • Inspections
  • Drivers
  • Navigate CSA
  • Op-Model Test
  • Non-CSA

CSA Overview

  1. What is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    Originally, CSA stood for “Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010.” However, as national implementation of CSA rolled out in December 2010, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) transitioned the program, removing the “2010” and renaming the program “Compliance, Safety, Accountability.” CSA is a new FMCSA safety program to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles. It introduces a new enforcement and compliance model that allows FMCSA and its State Partners to contact more carriers earlier in order to address safety deficiencies before crashes occur. The program establishes a new nationwide system for making the roads safer for motor carriers and the public alike.

    (link)
  2. Why is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) being implemented? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) mission is to improve safety by preventing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Over the past few years, the rate of crash reduction has leveled off, prompting FMCSA to take a new look at how the Agency evaluates the safety of motor carriers and drivers and to explore ways to improve its safety monitoring, evaluation, and intervention processes. CSA is the result of this comprehensive examination. CSA enables FMCSA and its State Partners to assess the safety performance of a greater segment of the industry and intervene with more carriers to change unsafe behavior early.

    (link)
  3. What is the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Operational Model? Answer

    The CSA Operational Model is the new way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its State Partners implement commercial motor vehicle compliance and enforcement programs.

    The CSA Operational Model has three major components:

    1. A new Safety Measurement System — CSA measures safety performance in new more comprehensive ways using inspection and crash results to identify carriers whose behaviors could reasonably lead to crashes.
    2. A new intervention process — CSA helps FMCSA and its State Partners correct high-risk behavior by contacting more carriers and drivers with a comprehensive interventions process. This interventions process is designed to more efficiently and effectively correct safety deficiencies by tailoring the Safety Investigator's process to the carrier's specific safety problem(s).
    3. A safety ratings process — CSA proposes a safety fitness determination methodology that is based on roadside performance and crash data.
    (link)
  4. Does Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) impact me? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) regulations remained the same after CSA implementation in December 2010, though CSA does change how FMCSA prioritizes carriers for enforcement and how it enforces compliance. Generally, CSA affects carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce, but may also include carriers whose State requires that they obtain a U.S. DOT Number. FMCSA has provided detailed answers to questions about the general applicability of the FMCSRs.

    (link)
  5. Are carriers from Canada and Mexico impacted by Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    Generally, CSA affects Mexican and Canadian carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has provided detailed answers to questions about the general applicability of the FMCSRs.

    (link)
  6. What is Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) at the highest level? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) regulations remained the same after CSA implementation in December 2010, though CSA does change how FMCSA prioritizes carriers for enforcement and how it enforces compliance. Generally, CSA affects carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce. CSA may also include carriers whose State requires that they obtain a U.S. DOT Number. FMCSA has provided detailed answers to questions about the general applicability of the FMCSRs. CSA will enact three major changes:

    1. There is a new Safety Measurement System (SMS) that gives a more comprehensive profile of carriers and drivers, better pinpoints the source(s) of safety problems, and more effectively identifies high crash-risk behavior. It is important that all FMCSA stakeholders understand the new SMS. To better understand how SMS works, read the SMS Methodology, and this SMS factsheet.
    2. There is a new interventions process as well as state-of-the-art tools that are more efficient and effective in the enforcement and compliance process. They institute a wider range of interventions to influence compliance earlier and match intervention to the corresponding level of safety performance. It is important that all FMCSA stakeholders understand this new interventions process. The interventions are outlined in this factsheet.
    3. There is a proposed change to the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD). The proposed change will assess the safety performance of a larger segment of industry. Furthermore, it will be based on roadside performance and intervention results, and ratings will be updated more often in order to convey current safety conditions. Once the final rule is passed, it will be important for all FMCSA stakeholders to understand it. To read more on the new proposed SFD, refer to pages 53487-53488 of this rulemaking notice located on FMCSA's Website.
    (link)
  7. What regulation changes does Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) bring? Answer

    CSA has not changed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), but it has changed how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates in enforcing the FMCSRs. In the future, FMCSA will consider a new methodology for determining the safety fitness of motor carriers, which is currently accomplished through the safety rating process described in Appendix B of 49 CFR Part 385. Such potential changes will be carried out through formal notice and comment rulemaking procedures.

    (link)
  8. What registration forms do carriers and drivers need to fill out for Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    No one needs to register for CSA, nor is there any kind of mandatory training requirement. However, it is in commercial motor vehicle carriers' and drivers' best interests to be informed about CSA and what it means for them. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA program impacts all carriers that are over 10,000 lbs. and travel interstate. CSA also impacts carriers that haul hazardous materials intrastate.

    (link)
  9. What is the timeline for CSA implementation? Answer

    • February 2008 — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launches a partial application of the CSA Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test) in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey.
    • 2009 — Five additional States join the CSA Op-Model Test group: Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, and Montana.
    • April 12 - November 30, 2010 — Motor carriers can preview their own data by seeing their roadside inspections/violations and crash events organized by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC).
    • Summer 2010
      • June 30 — The Op-Model Test ends.
      • July — The four Test States partially applying the CSA Op-Model (Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey) fully switch over to CSA, bringing the total CSA Test States to nine.
      • August
        • The Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology is modified to increase its effectiveness.
        • Motor carriers can see an assessment of their violations based on the new motor carrier SMS, which replaces SafeStat later in 2010.
    • December 2010
      • The SMS replaces SafeStat. The SMS is available to the public, including shippers and insurance companies.
      • The SMS Methodology is modified to increase its effectiveness.
      • FMCSA/States prioritize enforcement using the SMS.
      • FMCSA begins to issue warning letters to carriers with BASICs that exceed the threshold within their respective BASIC.
      • Roadside inspectors use the SMS results to identify carriers for inspection.
    • 2011
      • Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.
      • Enforcement staff will be trained and new interventions will be implemented State-by-State.

    (link)

Interventions

  1. What is the difference between compliance reviews and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) interventions? Answer

    There are five important differences between CSA interventions and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's former compliance reviews (CRs):

    • CSA provides a set of tools to address carriers' safety breakdowns; the CR is a one-size-fits-all tool.
    • CSA interventions provide the ability to focus on specific safety breakdowns, while the CR requires a broad examination of the carrier.
    • CSA interventions focus on improving behaviors that are linked to crash risk; the CR focuses on broad compliance based on a set of acute/critical violations.
    • CSA Onsite Focused Investigations and Offsite Investigations are less resource-intensive and less time-consuming for the carrier; CRs are resource-intensive.
    • CSA investigations may take place at a carrier's place of business or offsite; CRs are generally conducted onsite.
    (link)
  2. How can one of my Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) receive an “Exceeds the Intervention Threshold” symbol? Answer

    There are two ways a motor carrier can receive a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol in a given BASIC. First, the Safety Measurement System (SMS) analyzes a carrier's on-road safety performance based on the new SMS Methodology and that analysis results in a percentile for each BASIC. If the percentile is over the established Intervention Threshold, a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol will appear in the “On Road” column of the SMS.

    Second, if a Serious Violation was cited as the result of a carrier investigation within the past 12 months, the BASIC will show a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol in the Investigation column display. The triangle icon will remain present for 12 months regardless of whether any corrective actions have occurred.

    (link)
  3. What are the intervention thresholds for each BASIC? Answer

    Interventions are selected based on the following factors: number of Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) percentiles above the threshold (Note: a high BASIC percentile indicates high noncompliance), a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol due to Serious Violations, commodity hauled (e.g., passengers, Hazardous Material (HM)), intervention history, and time since last intervention. A complaint or fatal crash could also trigger an investigation.

    The Intervention Thresholds for carriers are organized by BASIC and are set based on a given BASIC's relationship to crash risk. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s analysis has shown that the strongest relationship to crash risk is found with high percentiles in the Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs. Therefore, these higher risk BASICs have a lower threshold for interventions than the other BASICs. Currently, the Intervention Thresholds are as follows:

    BASIC Intervention Thresholds
    Passenger HM General
    Unsafe Driving, HOS Compliance, Crash Indicator =50% =60% =65%
    Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance =65% =75% =80%
    HM Compliance =80% =80% =80%
    (link)
  4. What are Compliance, Safety, Accountability’s (CSA) new interventions? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and State Partners will use measurement results to identify carriers for CSA interventions. These interventions will offer an expanded suite of tools ranging from warning letters to Onsite Comprehensive Investigations. These tools supplement the labor-intensive compliance review (CR) to better address the specific safety problems identified.

    CSA investigators will be equipped to systematically evaluate why safety problems are occurring, to recommend remedies, to encourage corrective action(s), and, where corrective action is inadequate, to invoke strong penalties. Interventions will provide carriers with the information necessary to understand their safety problems and to change unsafe behavior early on. Interventions under CSA can be divided into three categories, which are described in detail below: early contact, investigation, and follow-on.

    Early Contact

    • Warning Letter– Correspondence sent to a carrier's place of business that specifically identifies a deficient Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) and outlines possible consequences of continued safety problems. The warning letter provides instructions for accessing carrier safety data and measurement as well as a point of contact.
    • Carrier Access to Safety Data and Measurement – Carriers have access to their measurement results (BASICs percentile ranks), as well as the inspection reports and violations that went into those results. With this information, carriers can chart a course of self-improvement. Carriers can also monitor this data for accuracy and challenge it as necessary through FMCSA's DataQs system.
    • Targeted Roadside Inspection – CSA provides roadside inspectors with data that identifies a carrier's specific safety problems, by BASIC, based on the new measurement system. Targeted roadside inspections occur at permanent and temporary roadside inspection locations where connectivity to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) information is available. As Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks technologies evolve they will be incorporated into the roadside inspections.

    Investigation

    • Offsite Investigation – A carrier is required to submit documents to FMCSA or a State Partner. These documents are used to evaluate the safety problems identified through the SMS and to determine their root causes. Types of documents requested may include third party documents such as toll receipts, border crossing records, or drug testing records. The goal is to identify issues responsible for poor safety performance. If the carrier does not submit requested documents they may be subject to an Onsite Investigation or to subpoena records (see below).
    • Onsite Focused Investigation – The purpose of this intervention is to evaluate the safety problems identified through the SMS and their root causes. An Onsite Focused Investigation may be selected when exceeding the threshold in two or fewer BASICs. Onsite Focused Investigations target specific problem areas (for example, maintenance records), while Onsite Comprehensive Investigations address all aspects of the carrier's operation.
    • Onsite Comprehensive Investigation – This intervention is similar to a CR and takes place at the carrier's place of business. It is used when the carrier exhibits broad and complex safety problems through BASICs continually exceeding the threshold, worsening BASICs (three or more), or a fatal crash or complaint.

    Follow-on

    • Cooperative Safety Plan – Implemented by the carrier, this safety improvement plan is voluntary. The carrier and FMCSA collaboratively create a plan, based on a standard template, to address the underlying problems resulting from the carrier's substandard safety performance.
    • Notice of Violation (NOV) – The NOV is a formal notice of safety problems that requires a response from the carrier. It is used when the regulatory violations discovered are severe enough to warrant formal action but not a civil penalty (fine). It is also used in cases where the violation is immediately correctable and the level of, or desire for, cooperation is high. To avoid further intervention, including fines, the carrier must provide evidence of corrective action or initiate a successful challenge to the violation.
    • Notice of Claim (NOC) – An NOC is issued in cases where the regulatory violations are severe enough to warrant assessment and issuance of civil penalties.
    • Operations Out-of-Service Order – An order requiring the carrier to cease all motor vehicle operations.
    (link)
  5. Will all motor carriers with safety alerts receive a warning letter before they hear anything else from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)? Answer

    Not necessarily. Motor carriers will enter the interventions process based on the nature and severity of their safety problems. If a carrier's safety problems are serious, it may enter the process through receiving an Offsite, Onsite Focused, or Onsite Comprehensive Investigation. If a carrier's safety problems are just emerging, FMCSA will issue a warning letter. If a carrier's safety performance does not improve or worsens after it receives a warning letter, the carrier will enter the progressive process and receive an investigation. If performance improves, the carrier will no longer be identified for intervention.

    (link)
  6. Who sends and receives warning letters, and what are the expectations for a motor carrier's response? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Headquarters sends warning letters to motor carriers. A warning letter notifies a motor carrier that its safety performance data shows that the carrier is not fully complying with all applicable FMCSA safety regulations. The warning letter lists the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories where the carrier's performance indicates safety issues and encourages the carrier to look at its Safety Measurement System data online. The warning letter does not require the motor carrier to respond to FMCSA. Motor carriers who receive warning letters should review their safety data and develop and execute strategies that will make their operation compliant with the safety regulations. Continued poor performance will lead to more intensive interventions.

    For additional information, view the Warning Letter Factsheet (PDF, 414KB).

    (link)
  7. What should a motor carrier do after receiving a warning letter? Answer

    Carriers do not need to respond in writing to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) after receiving a warning letter. FMCSA does encourage motor carriers to log in to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) to examine their data, focusing their attention first on the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories that are over or near the Intervention Threshold. Carriers should consider doing all of the following:

    • Ensure accuracy of data. Ensure that all the data listed is accurate and belongs to their U.S. DOT Number. If data is incorrect, they can submit a data correction review request through the DataQs system.
    • Examine violation types. Examine the summary of the violations that they are receiving and notice which violations occur most frequently, and those with the highest severity weights. These are two data points that should help carriers determine their next steps.
    • Conduct detailed data analysis. Download violation data into an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis. Sort the data by driver, date, location of inspection, vehicle, vehicle type, and violation. Analyze the data for any trends to determine the root cause(s) of any safety problem(s) and review with management team.
    • Address identified safety issues. . Develop and execute strategies to improve compliance with safety regulations to prevent more intensive interventions. FMCSA has developed tools and resources that may assist motor carriers with this process. These tools may be found at Section VI "What can a motor carrier do to improve?" and on the “How to Improve Percentile Rank.”
    • Periodically review SMS data. Review SMS data monthly to monitor progress.
    (link)
  8. How long does a carrier remain in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) intervention process? Answer

    Generally speaking, a motor carrier remains in the CSA intervention process until the carrier no longer has Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) exceeding the threshold. In the event that a carrier's BASIC percentile ranks fall below the threshold during an investigation or other intervention, the Agency will complete its work.

    (link)
  9. Is it possible for a carrier to receive an enforcement case? Answer

    The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is as strong on enforcement as today's model. Notices of Claim are part of the CSA intervention process.

    link)
  10. How does an investigation work? Answer

    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.

    (link)
  11. What is a Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP)? Are motor carriers required to develop a CSP? Answer

    The CSP is a structured plan for safety improvements based upon the underlying factors causing the carrier to have a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol in any given Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category. It is a voluntary plan on the part of the carrier to improve its safety performance. A carrier may submit a handwritten or an electronic version of its CSP.

    (link)
  12. How does compliance help motor carriers' businesses? Answer

    Noncompliant motor carriers may be subject to costly repairs, delays, and penalties, or may be ordered to stay off the road entirely. For additional information, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's “Safety is Good Business – Crashes Hurt Your Bottom Line.”

    (link)

SFD

  1. How are safety ratings handled under Compliance, Safety, Accountability? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) intends to propose replacing the current safety rating process, which determines safety through a compliance review with a new Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) that will incorporate the Safety Measurement System results to determine safety fitness. The SFD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be released in 2013. The SFD will need to go through the entire rulemaking process before it becomes law. Until the proposed SFD becomes final, FMCSA will continue to use the current safety rating process as outlined in 49 CFR Part 385. Current safety ratings can be found here: Safety and Fitness Electronic Records.

    (link)
  2. What is the proposed approach for the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD)? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses the safety rating methodology as outlined in 49 CFR Part 385 and will continue to use this methodology until the rulemaking process is completed. Accordingly, just like today, a motor carrier will receive an Unsatisfactory safety rating following an onsite review if FMCSA determines that the carrier's safety management controls fail to meet the safety fitness standard outlined in 49 CFR Part 385. There are four important differences between FMCSA's current safety rating methodology and the proposed Compliance, Safety, Accountability SFD:

    Newly Proposed SFD Existing SFD
    Not exclusively tied to Onsite Investigations Only to be issued or downgraded via an Onsite Investigation/compliance review
    Updated regularly Provides a snapshot of compliance only on the date of the most recent compliance review
    Based on violations of all safety-based regulations Based only on Critical and Acute Violations
    (link)
  3. What determines "Unfit" in terms of process and score for motor carriers? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses the safety rating methodology as outlined in 49 CFR Part 385 and will continue to use this methodology until the rulemaking process is completed. Accordingly, following current procedures, a motor carrier will receive an Unsatisfactory safety rating following an onsite review if FMCSA determines that the carrier's safety management controls fail to meet the safety fitness standard outlined in 49 CFR Part 385.

    (link)
  4. In the proposed new methodology, how can an "Unfit" carrier return to service? Answer

    The process of a motor carrier going back into service once it is determined to be Unfit is expected to remain the same as the current procedure. The biggest proposed change is that roadside data might be a factor in determining the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD). If a motor carrier were to receive a proposed Unfit determination, it would have 45 days (hazardous material/passenger carriers) or 60 days (all other carriers) to improve its SFD. Generally, this would be accomplished in one of three ways:

    • Another investigation/compliance review
    • A 385.15 appeal to the Chief Safety Officer if there are material errors with the information from either roadside data or interventions
    • A 385.17 appeal to the Division Office if the motor carrier files evidence of corrective action
    (link)
  5. What is the next step in the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) timeline? Answer

    The SFD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is scheduled to be released in 2013.

    (link)
  6. Will the severity weightings in the Safety Measurement System be subject to formal public comment during the Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking? Answer

    Yes, they will.

    (link)
  7. How will the proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) handle crashes? Answer

    In the short-term, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will consider for its proposed rule on SFD keeping intact the current SFD approach of including only preventable crashes in cases where the crash rate can lead to an adverse safety fitness determination. FMCSA will determine whether each crash is preventable as part of an investigation or a compliance review as described in 49 CFR Part 385 Appendix B. At this time, FMCSA is not considering using the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Crash Indicator results for determining safety fitness, as these SMS results currently do not consider crash preventability or accountability.

    (link)

Inspections

  1. What is a pre-inspection screening? Answer

    A pre-inspection screening, which takes less time than an actual safety inspection, may take many forms. It may include, but not necessarily be limited to, a cursory check of the vehicle. These cursory checks are commonly confused with a complete safety inspection. If an enforcement officer conducts only a pre-inspection screening, then a safety inspection report will not be generated. It is also important to note that different enforcement jurisdictions may use different methods to select or screen a vehicle for a safety inspection. There are strict criteria regarding what needs to be done for a roadside inspection report to be generated. If the pre-screening doesn't meet those criteria, no report will be generated. Keep in mind that an inspection usually takes a lot longer than a pre-screening and involves much more intense scrutiny of the driver and/or the vehicle. A driver can request an inspection, but it is up to the roadside inspector to determine if he or she will give one or not.

    (link)
  2. What are the inspection levels? Answer

    The North American Standard Driver/Vehicle Inspection Levels are explained on here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/safety-initiatives/mcsap/insplevels.htm .

    (link)
  3. How have Roadside Inspections been improved for Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) in terms of uniformity? Answer

    Under CSA, the data collected at the roadside is more important than ever because it is used in the Safety Measurement System to assess carriers' safety performance. Thus, inspection and crash data that are reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must meet high standards of uniformity, completeness, accuracy, and timeliness. FMCSA has organized its effort to improve data quality into four core initiatives:

    1. Train inspectors on how to make consistent documentation of roadside inspection and violation data.
    2. Standardize processes for challenging data by providing procedural guidance on the management of the roadside data challenge process through the DataQs system.
    3. Increase awareness of high-level goals of the inspection program by communicating to inspectors about how good inspections can support a systematic enforcement program and informing industry about the differences between screenings and inspections.
    4. Create a system to ensure that inspectors use a uniform inspection selection process.
    (link)
  4. How does Compliance, Safety, Accountability address accurate and timely reporting of recordable crashes? Answer

    Inspection and crash data that are collected and reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must meet high standards of uniformity, completeness, accuracy, and timeliness. FMCSA has made significant strides in improving the quality of crash and inspection data by developing a comprehensive program that includes raising the awareness of these standards, developing a means to measure State safety data quality, and working directly with States through either a State onsite review process or direct technical assistance to improve the quality of State safety data.

    (link)
  5. How have Roadside Inspections been improved, including getting states to upload their inspections faster? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) promotes the electronic collection of inspection data by providing the software and grants for laptops to States. In general, States that are not already collecting inspection data electronically are moving in this direction. To further provide incentives to States, FMCSA has created inspection data performance measures to raise awareness of the relative speed at which States upload inspection reports. In addition, FMCSA has provided online tools to help States diagnose the reasons for any untimely submission of inspection reports. Nearly 95 percent of the over 3 million inspections conducted annually are uploaded to the FMCSA Website within FMCSA's 21-day standard.

    (link)
  6. Where can roadside inspection data be viewed? Answer

    Motor carriers can view an electronic duplicate of all of their inspections through the Safety Measurement System, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Portal, or SAFER. Motor carriers that want a physical copy of inspection reports must contact the State agency where the inspection occurred or enter an inspection report request through the DataQs System.

    (link)
  7. How does the change from SafeStat to the new Safety Measurement System (SMS) impact how roadside inspectors select carriers for inspection? Answer

    SMS results are incorporated into the existing software that inspectors have used to select carriers, which is called the Inspection Selection System (ISS). The new algorithm uses the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) information to calculate ISS scores and the BASIC information is also displayed in the ISS application. The SMS's BASICs in ISS replace SafeStat's Safety Evaluation Area values.

    (link)
  8. How do I find my Inspection Selection System (ISS) value? Answer

    ISS is no longer available to the public. A carrier can access its own ISS value on the Portal and can register on the website using its U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT PIN. For answers to questions about the Portal, contact compass@dot.gov or call 1-800-832-5660.

    (link)

Drivers

  1. Why does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program emphasize driver safety enforcement? Answer

    Studies have shown that unsafe driver behavior, both on the part of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and other drivers, is a major contributor to CMV-related crashes. Some studies indicate that a small segment of the CMV driver population is involved in a disproportionately large number of crashes. As a result, FMCSA expanded its approach to identifying and addressing unsafe drivers during interventions with motor carriers.

    (link)
  2. What is the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) and how is it used? Answer

    The DSMS is a component of the overall Safety Measurement System (SMS). The DSMS is a tool that enables enforcement personnel to assess individual drivers in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories using 36 months of roadside performance data across employers.

    State can do that. DSMS does not impact a driver's Commercial Driver's License. Neither drivers nor employing motor carriers nor the general public have access to the DSMS. FMCSA does not address drivers the same way it addresses carriers today, nor will it under the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. While carriers are prioritized for intervention based on the SMS, drivers are only investigated during a carrier investigation. Therefore, no Intervention Thresholds are in place for drivers.

    (link)
  3. Why is there no driver rating? Why aren't drivers more accountable? Answer

    While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not use the Safety Measurement System (SMS) or any other system to assign formal safety ratings to individual drivers, the agency recognizes that holding drivers accountable for safe driving behavior is an important part of the safety compliance and enforcement process. Safety Investigators (SIs) always systematically investigate drivers with egregious violations when investigating a motor carrier. Additionally, SIs use the Driver SMS, an internal safety assessment tool, to review drivers with strong patterns of noncompliance. Any violations that are not corrected may result in a Notice of Violation or Notice of Claim for the driver.

    (link)
  4. Why does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) hold carriers responsible for driver errors, such as speeding? Answer

    Motor carriers are held accountable for driver errors because they are responsible for the job performance of those who work for them. This is a longstanding Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration position and is not unique to Compliance, Safety, Accountability or the new SMS.

    (link)
  5. How does a driver's violation history impact a carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) evaluation? Answer

    Carriers are evaluated only on inspections and crashes associated with their own U.S. DOT Number, so only violations that a driver receives while working for a motor carrier apply to that carrier's SMS evaluation. Therefore, the driver's violation history before the driver is hired and after the driver's employment is terminated will not impact a motor carrier's SMS results. However, even if a motor carrier terminates a driver, all of the driver's crashes and inspection results that he or she received while operating for that carrier still apply to the carrier's SMS evaluation for 24 months from the date of occurrence. Because the data is time-weighted, the effect of those occurrences on the motor carrier's percentile rank will diminish over the course of the 24 months.

    (link)
  6. What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), who can access it, and how? Answer

    PSP is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration program mandated by Congress that is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual operators' crash and serious safety violation history as a pre-employment condition. The program is voluntary and is not part of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

    Motor carriers may request driver information for the purpose of pre-employment screening. The driver must provide written consent. Individual drivers may request their own driver information record at any time. The information will be retrieved from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). Electronic profiles contain five years of crash data and three years of inspection data; however, MCMIS does not include conviction data. There is a fee for this service.

    For a carrier to enroll in PSP, visit the enrollment page. For additional questions about PSP, visit the PSP Website's FAQs page or the PSP "Contact Us" page.

    (link)
  7. Describe the serious driver violations that are sometimes called Red Flag Violations. Answer

    When investigating a motor carrier, a Safety Investigator (SI) looks at driver history for egregious violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). These violations are sometimes referred to as Red Flag Violations and are always investigated as part of a carrier investigation. The SI conducting the investigation looks to see if the violation has been corrected. At present, there are 16 such violations, though this list may be updated periodically. These violations are outlined in the table below, along with the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to which they correspond.

    BASIC FMCSR Part Violation Description
    Driver Fitness 383.21 Operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with more than one driver's license
    Driver Fitness 383.23(a)(2) Operating a CMV without a valid commercial driver's license (CDL)
    Driver Fitness 383.51(a) Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified
    Driver Fitness 383.51A-SIN Driving a CMV while CDL is suspended for a safety-related or unknown reason and in the state of driver's license issuance
    Driver Fitness 383.51A-SOUT Driving a CMV while CDL is suspended for safety-related or unknown reason and outside the driver's license state of issuance.
    Driver Fitness 383.91(a) Operating a CMV with improper CDL group
    Driver Fitness 391.11 Unqualified driver
    Driver Fitness 391.11(b)(5) Driver lacking valid license for type of vehicle being operated
    Driver Fitness 391.11(b)(7) Driver disqualified from operating CMV
    Driver Fitness 391.15(a) Driving a CMV while disqualified
    Driver Fitness 391.15A-SIN Driving a CMV while disqualified. Suspended for safety-related or unknown reason and in the state of driver’s license issuance.
    Driver Fitness 391.15A-SOUT Driving a CMV while disqualified. Suspended for a safety-related or unknown reason and outside the driver's license state of issuance.
    Controlled Substances/Alcohol 392.4(a) Driver uses or is in possession of drugs
    Controlled Substances/Alcohol 392.5(a) Possession/use/under influence of alcohol less than 4 hours prior to duty
    Fatigued Driving (HOS) 395.13(d) Driving after being declared out-of-service (OOS)
    Vehicle Maintenance 396.9(c)(2) Operating an OOS vehicle

    Any driver violations identified and addressed during carrier investigations that are not corrected may result in a driver Notice of Violation or Notice of Claim.

    (link)
  8. How will drivers, motor carriers, and the public be notified about driver Notice of Violations (NOVs) and Notice of Claims (NOCs)? Answer

    Drivers will be notified by mail and a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration investigator may contact them. Motor carriers and the public, however, are not informed about driver NOVs or NOCs.

    (link)

Navigate CSA

  1. How can commercial motor vehicle carriers successfully navigate Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    Check, update, and review your records:

    • Ensure that your motor carrier census form (MCS-150) is up-to-date and accurate.
    • Monitor and review your Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranks as well as inspection and crash data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal.
    • Maintain copies of inspection reports and evidence related to any observed violations, and request a review of any potentially incorrect data using DataQs.

    Ensure compliance:

    • Review your inspection and violation history for the past two years. Identify patterns, trends, and areas that need improvement and begin to address them now.
    • Examine your business processes to determine how they may be contributing to any safety compliance deficiencies.
    • Take steps to increase your drivers' awareness that inspections are more important than ever, that all violations count, not just out-of-service violations, and that their performance directly impacts their driving records and the safety assessment of their employing carrier.

    Visit the CSA Website:

    • FMCSA regularly updates materials on the CSA Website. There, you will find explanations, answers to questions, tips, and guidance.
    • You can sign up for the email subscription service or RSS feed to receive the most up-to-date information.
    • You can also submit questions and review Frequently Asked Questions.
    • Be sure to review the materials about SMS and the new BASICs, understanding the new SMS is an important step in preparing for CSA.
    (link)
  2. How can motor carriers, drivers, and other stakeholders request a review or correction of data in the Safety Measurement System? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed a specific mechanism to facilitate data reviews. Requests for data reviews (RDRs) can be made through the DataQs system, an electronic filing system that motor carriers, drivers, and the public use. The first step is to register either at the DataQs website (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/), or via the FMCSA Portal. Instructions for filing an RDR are provided, and include simple forms and the submission of information such as the report number, date, and time of the event, State, explanation, and supporting documentation, if needed. Once filed, the RDR and all relevant documentation are routed to the organization responsible for the data, and electronic correspondence is used to communicate with the requestor. The DataQs website is open to the public and offers an online help function to walk users through the process.

    Please Note: A carrier can modify registration information (e.g., name, address, or Power Unit data) by updating the MCS-150 form.   

    (link)
  3. Can a motor carrier or driver appeal a DataQs ruling? Answer

    No, there is no appeal process for DataQs at this time.

    (link)
  4. Since warnings for speeding count in the Safety Measurement System (SMS), what can motor carriers or drivers do if they feel that they received an unwarranted speeding warning ticket? Answer

    Speeding violations documented on a roadside inspection report are used in the SMS. If motor carriers or drivers receive a warning for speeding that has been documented as a violation on a roadside inspection that they feel is unwarranted, they can use the DataQs process to request a review of the violation data.

    It is important to understand that the State might give motor carriers or drivers a separate State citation, which they can appeal through the State court system. Since the roadside inspection data and the State citation data are separate, motor carriers or drivers would have to request a review of each violation independently to have them both removed from their records.

    (link)
  5. If the citation I acquired while in my commercial motor vehicle is thrown out in court, can I get the roadside inspection violation that resulted from the same behavior from the same incident removed from my Safety Measurement System (SMS) record? Answer

           

    The majority of roadside inspections nationwide are done by FMCSA's State Partners, who conduct over 3.5 million roadside inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers each year. Presently, the State that submitted the roadside inspection data is tasked with removal of violation data from an inspection record based upon a court adjudication. All documentation concerning the court’s adjudication and findings should be submitted as part of an RDR through the FMCSA’s DataQs system. This information is then routed to the respective agency for consideration.

     

    The uniformity and consistency of the State’s review and action in addressing all RDRs is very important to the Agency. FMCSA guidance therefore recommends that State DataQs analysts exercise reasonable discretion and good judgment by carefully reviewing the reason for the dismissal, based on any and all available information, and determine whether fairness dictates removal of the violation from the Federal databases.  FMCSA does not recommend or require that States reject RDRs seeking removal of dismissed violations. This guidance may be found in the current DataQs User Guide and Manual (Best Practices for State Agency Users), which is publicly available on our website at https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov. The FMCSA is currently reviewing the issue of dismissed citations and their inclusion in SMS. 

    (link)
  6. Where can I find Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) training? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is not certifying anyone's CSA training and is not tracking CSA seminars at the national level. However, the Agency recommends that you contact your local FMCSA Division to see if they are carrying out any training in your State. Their contact information can be found in this list of Field Operations, Service Center, and State-level motor carrier Division offices. You can also contact local trucking professional organizations since they often hold CSA seminars.

    In addition, you can educate yourself about CSA by accessing these helpful online informational tools:

    (link)
  7. What's the best way to keep up with what is happening with Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    Keep up with the latest information on CSA as it becomes available by signing up for the email subscription service or RSS feed and by periodically reviewing the CSA Website.

    (link)
  8. Can someone from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) speak about Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) at our organization? Answer

    To request a speaker to address CSA at your organization, contact your State's FMCSA Division office. You can also make speaker requests via the CSA feedback system, which will add your request for a CSA speaker to a list of similar requests. If and when CSA speakers become available, the Agency will contact you. Stakeholders can also call FMCSA Communications at 202-366-9999.

    (link)
  9. Can you mail out information to help educate carriers and drivers about Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not have a budget for printing and mailing CSA material to the public. However, there are many free downloadable and printable documents available on the CSA Website.

    (link)
  10. Will the severity weights in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) change and can stakeholders comment on them? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) invites all stakeholders to submit comments on the severity weights to the FMCSA Compliance, Safety, Accountability Docket. Instructions for comment submission are below. FMCSA plans to continuously improve SMS, making annual changes. Comments submitted to date have been reviewed and, where possible, suggested changes were tested for their impact on the SMS output. Also, severity weightings will be subject to formal public comment during the Safety Fitness Determination rulemaking. This public comment period will be announced with the publication of the rule. People can submit comments on this topic through any of the following methods and by referring to Federal Docket Management System Docket ID Number FMCSA-2004-18898:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
      This is the link for Docket ID Number FMCSA-2004-18898: http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480a4fe97
    2. Mail: Docket Management Facility;
      U.S. Department of Transportation
      West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140
      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC 20590
    3. Hand Delivery: U.S. Department of Transportation
      West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140
      1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
      Washington, DC 20590
      *May be delivered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.
    4. Fax: 1-202-493-2251

    Each submission must include the Agency name, FMCSA, and the Docket Number referenced above. Please note that U.S. DOT posts all comments it receives without changes, including any personal information, to the following website: http://www.regulations.gov .

    (link)
  11. Where can stakeholders submit feedback about Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Answer

    Stakeholders can also submit feedback through the CSA feedback mechanism located at: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/CSA_Feedback.aspx.

    (link)
  12. Where can a motor carrier get more information? Answer

    There are several websites where a motor carrier can find additional information on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA). Specific links are highlighted below:

    FMCSA

    1. FMCSA Website
    2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
    3. A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety
    4. Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program
    5. CMV Web-Based Driving Tips

    CSA

    1. CSA Resources Page
    2. CSA FAQs
    3. CSA General Factsheet (PDF, 608 KB)
    4. CSA Industry Briefing PowerPoint Slides (PPT, 4.9 MB)

    Safety Measurement System (SMS)

    1. Carrier Safety Measurement System Factsheet (PDF, 587 KB)
    2. CSA Carrier Safety Measurement System Methodology (PDF, 2.4 MB)
    3. SMS Violation Severity By BASIC - SMS Methodology, Appendix A  (XLSX, 70KB)

    CSA Information for Drivers

    1. CSA Just the Facts (PDF, 583 KB)
    2. CSA Driver Factsheet (PDF, 399 KB)
    3. CSA for CMV Drivers, a Presentation (PPT, 5.3 MB)
    4. CSA Driver Safety Enforcement — What Carriers Need to Know (PDF, 105 KB)
    (link)

Op-Model Test

  1. Which States were in the Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test)? Answer

    The Op-Model Test was implemented in the following States: Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, and New Jersey. Although the Op-Model Test ended on June 30, 2010, these States still use the new Safety Measurement System and all interventions.

    (link)
  2. What was the Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test)? Answer

    The Op-Model Test was a field test of the new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) and comprehensive intervention process, which began in four States in February 2008 and five additional States in 2009. During the Op-Model Test, a representative sample of interstate motor carriers within the States of Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey were measured in the SMS and subjected to interventions, while another representative set of carriers (a control group) within the four States were subject to the existing compliance and enforcement process. Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, and Montana were also part of the Op-Model Test; however, all carriers in these States were measured in SMS and subjected to interventions. The test lasted 30 months and ended on June 30, 2010.

    (link)
  3. What are the results of the Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test)? Answer

    A third party, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), formally evaluated the Op-Model Test and the report is forthcoming. The evaluation compares the test group to the control group in the four original Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Test States and examines the impact of the program on the five additional Test States.

    Early feedback from enforcement staff using the Safety Measurement System (SMS) and conducting new interventions was positive. Preliminary results from the Op-Model Test suggested that CSA offers a more efficient, effective means of identifying and intervening with motor carriers that have demonstrated safety performance issues. In particular, the Op-Model Test demonstrated the following:

    • CSA enables enforcement staff to investigate more carriers with safety deficiencies using the same number of resources.
    • The warning letter is encouraging carriers to recognize and address their safety deficiencies earlier, and carriers are responding.
    • CSA is having a positive impact on motor carrier performance in behavior areas significantly related to crash risk, particularly in the Unsafe Driving and Hours-of-Service Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories.
    • SMS offers a better assessment of carrier safety performance and a more effective means of identifying motor carriers that pose a high crash-risk.
    (link)

Non-CSA

  1. What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), who can access it, and how? Answer

    PSP is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration program mandated by Congress that is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual operators' crash and serious safety violation history as a pre-employment condition. The program is voluntary and is not part of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

    Motor carriers may request driver information for the purpose of pre-employment screening. The driver must provide written consent. Individual drivers may request their own driver information record at any time. The information will be retrieved from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). Electronic profiles contain five years of crash data and three years of inspection data; however, MCMIS does not include conviction data. There is a fee for this service.

    For a carrier to enroll in PSP, visit the enrollment page. For additional questions about PSP, visit the PSP Website's FAQs page or the PSP "Contact Us" page.

    (link)
  2. Where can I find the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations? Answer

    FMCSA's regulations can be found here. FMCSA’s A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety is also designed to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

    (link)
  3. Who can help me answer non-Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) questions? Answer

    Most FMCSA questions that are unrelated to CSA can be answered either by FMCSA Headquarters at 1-800-832-5660 or by State FMCSA field offices.

    (link)
  4. Does Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) make Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) mandatory? Answer

    CSA does not mandate event/log recorders. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued a new rule about mandating EOBRs for truck and bus companies with serious Hours-of-Service violations.

    (link)
  5. How do I acquire more information on the new proposed Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations? Answer

    To learn more about Federal HOS requirements, please visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Website at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos-proposed/statement.aspx .

    (link)
  6. Why does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) deal only with trucks, when 4-wheelers are causing a lot of the crashes? Answer

    The Federal government does hold the general public accountable for its role in all accidents, including those with trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deals with the general motoring public. FMCSA also has a program that deals with aggressive drivers called Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks.

    (link)
  7. Is the New Entrant Safety Assurance Process still going to exist under Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) and, if so, what is the connection between the two systems? Answer

    The New Entrant Safety Assurance Process, which took effect in December 2009, still exists under CSA. The CSA Operational Model is performance-driven and new entrants exhibiting unsafe behavior as indicated by CSA's Safety Measurement System will be incorporated into the interventions process while remaining in the new entrant program.

    (link)
  8. Where can I go to have my Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) questions answered? Answer

    Questions about CSA can be answered at the CSA Website through one of three methods:

    1. Browse the CSA Website's Resources Page, which has many documents covering the different aspects of CSA.
    2. Search the website's Frequently Asked Questions.
    3. If the first two methods are unsuccessful, submit your question at the CSA Feedback Page or call the Communications & Outreach Team at 877-254-5365 to receive an answer directly.
    (link)
  9. Are there new regulations regarding a driver's body mass index (BMI), body fat ratio, weight, neck size, and sleep apnea? Answer

    Despite rumors to the contrary, no. While research was recently released stating that a driver's BMI is a risk factor for identifying sleep apnea, neither the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) nor the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program currently has any rules that restrict who can be a commercial motor vehicle driver based on BMI or weight, or neck size. For more information view FMCSA’s Spotlight on Sleep Apnea.

    (link)
  10. How does a carrier acquire a U.S. DOT Number? Answer

    Information about registering for a U.S. DOT Number can be found here: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration-licensing/registration-licensing.htm . If you have further questions about registration, please call the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at 800-832-5660.

    (link)
  11. Do you have copies of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) logo available for public use on websites and in newsletters? Answer

    Information on the CSA logo can be found here: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Stay_Connected.aspx#branding

    (link)

Safety Measurement System (SMS)

  • SMS Overview
  • SMS Algorithm
  • Crash Data
  • SMS Online
  • Improving Percentile Ranks

SMS Overview

  1. What is the motor carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) SMS is an automated system that quantifies the on-road safety performance of motor carriers so that FMCSA can identify unsafe carriers, prioritize them for intervention, and monitor if a motor carrier's safety and compliance problem is improving.

    The SMS is not a Safety Fitness Determination nor is it a safety rating pursuant to 49 CFR Part 385; also, it does not represent FMCSA's final determination about the safety of the carrier. Use of the SMS for purposes other than those identified above may produce unintended results and inaccurate conclusions.

    FMCSA highly recommends that all motor carriers periodically review the SMS and, when necessary, initiate a Request for Data Review through DataQs, an electronic data correcting system. The DataQs system is available online at http://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov .

    (link)
  2. How is the Safety Measurement System (SMS) used? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses the SMS to:

    • Identify motor carriers for interventions, such as warning letters, investigations, or roadside inspections.
    • Determine the specific safety problems of the carrier to focus on during an intervention.
    • Monitor motor carrier noncompliance issues over time.
    (link)
  3. Where does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) get its data from? Answer

    SMS gets a monthly snapshot of data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) national database, the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). SMS pulls the previous 24 months of roadside inspection data from MCMIS and State-reported commercial motor vehicle crashes and motor carrier registration/Census data and results from Federal and State investigations conducted within the previous 12 months.

    (link)
  4. What's the difference between SafeStat and the new Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    The SMS quantifies the on-road safety performance of motor carriers to identify candidates for interventions and to monitor whether compliance problems are improving or worsening. The SMS also uses investigation findings and notifies a carrier with the triangle icon when it has exceeded the threshold within each of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) where a serious violation has been discovered. The SMS has replaced the SafeStat measurement system as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's tool to prioritize motor carriers for potential intervention.

    The differences between the two systems are shown in the table below:

    SMS SafeStat
    Organized by seven BASICs Organized in four broad categories known as Safety Evaluation Areas (SEAs)
    Identifies safety problems to determine whom to investigate and where to focus the investigation Identified motor carriers for a compliance review
    Emphasizes on-road safety performance using all safety-based inspection violations Originated from roadside inspections and used only out-of-service and moving violations
    Violations are weighted based on their relationship to crash risk Violations not weighted based on their relationship to crash risk
    SMS will eventually be used to propose adverse safety fitness determination based on a carrier's own data SafeStat has no impact on an entity's safety fitness rating
    SMS provides a tool that allows investigators to identify drivers with safety problems during carrier investigations. SafeStat does not provide a tool that allows investigators to identify drivers with safety problems during carrier investigations.
    (link)
  5. Does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) use the old Safety Evaluation Area (SEA) values to determine the new Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)? Answer

    SEA values derived from the former SafeStat measurement system will not be used in any way in the SMS. The SMS evaluates the previous 24 months of roadside inspection and crash data.

    (link)
  6. What are the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)? Which violations correspond to which BASIC? Answer

    The Safety Measurement System (SMS) is organized into seven BASICs, which represent behaviors that can lead to crashes. The BASICs were developed based on information from a number of studies that quantify the associations between violations and crash risk, as well as statistical analysis and input from enforcement subject matter experts.

    The BASICs are defined as follows:

    1. Unsafe Driving — Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example Violations: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 397)
    2. Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance — Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in noncompliance with the HOS regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to logbooks as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example Violations: HOS, logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
    3. Driver Fitness Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example Violations: Failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver's license and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
    4. Controlled Substances/Alcohol — Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example Violations: Use or possession of controlled substances/alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
    5. Vehicle Maintenance — Failure to properly maintain a CMV and prevent shifting loads. Example Violations: Brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, improper load securement, and failure to make required repairs. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393, and 396)
    6. Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance — Unsafe handling of hazardous materials (HM) on a CMV. Example violations: leaking containers, improper placarding, improperly packaged HM. (FMCSR Part 397 and U.S. DOT HM Regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179 & 180)
    7. Crash Indicator — Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity. It is based on information from State-reported crashes.
    (link)

SMS Algorithm

  1. How are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile ranks calculated? Answer

    SMS evaluates the safety of individual motor carriers by considering all safety-based roadside inspection violations, not just out-of service violations, as well as State-reported crashes, using 24 months of performance data. SMS assesses motor carriers' safety performance in each of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Crash Indicator.

    SMS calculates a measure for each BASIC by combining the time and severity weighted violations/crashes (more recent violations are weighted more heavily), normalized by exposure, which is a statistical calculation that allows SMS to make a fair comparison between carriers with different levels of activity (e.g., a hybrid of the number of Power Units per Vehicle Miles Traveled or the number of relevant inspections). The SMS converts each carrier's BASIC measures into percentiles based on rank relative to carriers with similar safety event groupings (i.e., number of relevant inspections, number of inspections with violations, or number of crashes).

    The SMS is updated monthly, taking a snapshot of data on the third or last Friday of each month, and takes approximately 10 business days to process and validate the data before it is uploaded on the website. These dates are estimates and are subject to change; if there are problems with the validation, the process could take longer than expected.

    To understand more about the BASICS, review the SMS factsheet and briefings on the Compliance, Safety, Accountability Website. For even more detail, review the SMS Methodology document. The document outlines which values are assigned for each violation and how they are weighted in Appendix A, starting on page A-4 in the SMS Methodology document.

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  2. How does time-weighting work? Answer

    Violations are impacted by time severity; that is, more recent violations are weighted more heavily. Violations that occurred within the last six months count three times, violations that occurred between six months and a year ago count twice, and violations between one and two years old count only once. After two years, violations do not count at all in the Safety Measurement System.

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  3. What is a “clean inspection?” Answer

    A “clean inspection” is when a relevant roadside inspection did not result in any violations for a particular Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). Safety inspections with no violations can improve a carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) results. For example, when a carrier has no BASIC violations related to the Hours-of-Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, and/or Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASICs from a Drive r Inspection (Level I, II, III or VI), this clean inspection will lower the associated BASIC measure. Similarly, when a carrier does not have any BASIC violations related to the Vehicle Maintenance and/or Hazardous Materials Compliance BASICs from a Vehicle Inspection (Level I, II, V or VI), this clean inspection will lower the associated BASIC measure. Roughly one-third of the 3.5 million inspections that are uploaded each year have zero violations.

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  4. How does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) handle warning tickets for speeding? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has conducted effectiveness testing on the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS), as it is currently calculated using all recorded moving violations without regard to whether a citation was issued. Put in simple terms, the analysis demonstrates that there is a strong relationship between high scores in the Unsafe Driving BASIC, as derived by including all recorded moving violations, and future crashes. From a legal standpoint, the agency's use of warnings as one factor in the selection of an intervention does not constitute deprivation of a property interest for which a due process procedure is required. FMCSA has, however, as part of its attempt at further effectiveness analysis, reviewed the existing inspection data to determine if it is feasible to exclude recorded moving violations from consideration by the CSMS when a citation is not issued. At this time, it is not feasible. A free-form text field exists whereby an enforcement officer can enter whether a citation was issued. However, the completeness and accuracy of this field is not sufficient to employ in the CSMS at this time.

    To address this issue, FMCSA is considering the addition of a simple Yes/No field to indicate whether a citation was issued in conjunction with the recorded speeding violation. Furthermore, based upon concerns expressed by the American Trucking Associations and motor carriers participating in our CSA Operational Model Test, FMCSA is implementing modifications to the roadside inspection software that its field staff and our State Partners use that will require roadside officers to designate the severity of speeding offenses recorded on roadside inspections. For example, the enforcement officer will have to designate whether the recorded speeding violation was 1 - 5 miles per hour (MPH) over the speed limit, 6 - 10 MPH over, etc. Moving forward, this will allow FMCSA to assign less weight to the less severe speeding violations in the CSMS.

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  5. How does a driver's violation history impact a carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) evaluation? Answer

    Carriers are evaluated only on inspections and crashes associated with their own U.S. DOT Number, so only violations that a driver receives while working for a motor carrier apply to that carrier's SMS evaluation. Therefore, the driver's violation history before the driver is hired and after the driver's employment is terminated will not impact a motor carrier's SMS results. However, even if a motor carrier terminates a driver, all of the driver's crashes and inspection results that he or she received while operating for that carrier still apply to the carrier's SMS evaluation for 24 months from the date of occurrence. Because the data is time-weighted, the effect of those occurrences on the motor carrier's percentile rank will diminish over the course of the 24 months.

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  6. Where can I find the Safety Measurement System (SMS) severity tables? Answer

    The severity points for all violations used in the SMS can be found in Appendix A of theSMS Methodology and in this MS Excel spreadsheet.

    The severity weights reflect the relative importance of each violation within each particular Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). They cannot be compared meaningfully across the various BASICs. For example, a violation with a severity weight of 7 in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC is not intended to be equivalent to a violation with a severity weight of 7 in the Driver Fitness BASIC. The violation severity weights are currently being reviewed based on feedback from stakeholders.

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  7. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology document states that a carrier can receive no more than 30 severity points in a single inspection. If a carrier has more than 30 severity points, which points are carried over to SMS? Answer

    This statement is not entirely correct. The SMS Methodology document states that the sum of all severity weights yielded by any one inspection for violations in any one Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) is capped at a maximum of 30. The inspection cap of 30 applies to the sum of violation severity weights within a BASIC, not summed across all BASICs. This rule prevents one bad inspection from overwhelming the evaluation of a particular BASIC and allows SMS to assess a motor carrier's safety performance across several inspections.

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  8. When 392.2 violations are listed on the roadside inspection report, how can a user determine which Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) they apply to and the severity weight? Answer

    Roadside inspection reports contain all specific 392.2 local laws cited, but the Safety Measurement System (SMS) uses only 392.2 violations that translate with a specific letter suffix (i.e., 392.2C, 392.2S). If the violation is a 392.2 (with no letter suffix), then SMS does not use it. If it has a suffix and it is not listed in the tables below, SMS does not use it.

    Unsafe Driving BASIC:
    Section Violation Description Shown on Roadside Inspection Severity Weight
    392.2C Failure to obey traffic control device 5
    392.2DH Headlamps - Failing to dim when required 3
    392.2FC Following too close 5
    392.2LC Improper lane change 5
    392.2LV Lane restriction violation 3
    392.2P Improper passing 5
    392.2PK Unlawfully parking and/or leaving vehicle in the roadway 1
    392.2R Reckless driving 10
    392.2RR Railroad grade crossing violation 5
    392.2S Speeding (After 1/1/11) 1
    392.2S Speeding (Before 1/1/11) 5
    392.2-SLLS2 State/Local Laws - Speeding 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit 4
    392.2-SLLS3 State/Local Laws - Speeding 11-14 miles per hour over the speed limit 7
    392.2-SLLS4 State/Local Laws - Speeding 15 or more miles per hour over the speed limit 10
    392.2-SLLSWZ State/Local Laws - Speeding in a work/construction zone 10
    392.2-SLLT State/Local Laws - Operating a CMV while texting 10
    392.2T Improper turns 5
    392.2Y Failure to yield right-of-way 5
    Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC:
    392.2H State/Local Hours-of-Service (HOS) 7
    Vehicle Maintenance BASIC:
    392.2WC Wheel (mud) flaps missing or defective 1
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  9. Do tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating personal vehicles impact their motor carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) data or their Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record? Answer

    No. Tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal vehicles are State citations and do not count in SMS or PSP. SMS and PSP use only violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and those regulations apply only to people driving commercial motor vehicles. In measuring on-road safety performance, SMS and PSP use all safety-based violations documented at roadside inspections, as well as State-reported crashes.

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  10. Do citations play a role in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) or the carrier Inspection Selection System (ISS) algorithm? For example, if a driver has a violation for a torn strap and receives a citation, does the citation add anything to the carrier's SMS percentile ranks or ISS values? Answer

    State government handles citations and the Commercial Driver's License (CDL). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is part of the Federal government. The Federal and State government use different data. Citations can influence the CDL, but they do not influence the SMS Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranks or ISS values. Those evaluation systems are influenced by violations as recorded on roadside inspections and crashes. To see which violations influence which BASICs, refer to Appendix A in the SMS Methodology document.

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  11. Can you explain how safety event groups work in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    One of the ways the SMS accounts for the differences between motor carriers and their operations is by placing carriers in safety event groups based on the number of safety events (e.g., inspections, crashes) in which the carriers have been involved. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s foremost concern is safety and it accomplishes this by addressing the carriers who pose the greatest crash risk, irrespective of their industry segment.

    Safety event groups enable the SMS to deal with the widely diverse motor carrier population, while ensuring that similarly situated carriers are treated with the same standards. Safety event groups do not compare carriers by the commodities they haul or their industry segment.

    The tables below outline the safety event groups for each of the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and can be found in theSMS Methodology document.

    Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance, Driver Fitness, and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs

    Safety Event Group Category Number of Relevant Inspections*
    1 3-10 (HOS Compliance) 5-10 (Fitness, Vehicle)
    2 11-20
    3 21-100
    4 101-500
    5 501+

    Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC

    Safety Event Group Category Number of Relevant Inspections*
    1 5-10
    2 11-15
    3 16-40
    4 41-100
    5 101+

    *A relevant inspection is one where the roadside inspector reviewed a particular area for evidence of violations (not all inspection types/levels look at all areas).

    Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC

    Safety Event Group Category Number of Inspections with Controlled Substances/Alcohol Violations
    1 1
    2 2
    3 3
    4 4+

    The Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs divide the safety event groups further into two additional categories: combo and straight segments. The following is used under the SMS to determine the carrier's segment:

    • Combo – combination trucks/motor coach buses constituting 70 percent or more of the total Power Units (PUs).
    • Straight – straight trucks/other vehicles constituting more than 30 percent of the total PUs.

    Unsafe Driving BASIC

    Safety Event Group Category Combo Segment: Number of Inspections with Unsafe Driving Violations Straight Segment: Number of Inspections with Unsafe Driving Violations
    1 3-8 3-4
    2 9-21 5-8
    3 22-57 9-18
    4 58-149 19-49
    5 150+ 50+

    Crash Indicator BASIC

    Safety Event Group Category Combo Segment: Number of Crashes Straight Segment: Number of Crashes
    1 2-3 2
    2 4-6 3-4
    3 7-16 5-8
    4 17-45 9-26
    5 46+ 27+
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  12. Which violations from crashes are used in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    Only pre-existing violations from post-crash inspections are used in the SMS. Violations recorded in the Motor Carrier Management Information System as being attributed to the crash are not used.

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  13. How do I determine if a violation will count against a carrier, a driver, or both in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    The SMS uses all safety-based violations recorded during roadside inspections to evaluate safety. A list of these violations can be found in Appendix A of the SMS Methodology document. All of the violations in Appendix A count against the motor carrier. A subset of these violations is applied to evaluate driver safety in cases where the commercial motor vehicle driver is also responsible in part for the occurrence. This subset of violations is noted in the “Driver Responsible” column in Appendix A of the Carrier SMS Methodology document, and is also noted in Appendix A of the Driver SMS Methodology document.
    At present, only enforcement personnel who are conducting motor carrier investigations use the driver safety assessment tool in the SMS. The new tool enables Safety Investigators to focus on drivers with poor safety performance histories when they are investigating a motor carrier.

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  14. How is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations? Answer

    Results from the Operational Model Test have demonstrated the difficulties of enforcing size and weight violations through Compliance, Safety, Accountability interventions that FMCSA and State Safety Investigators (SIs) conduct. Alternative methods to address this safety issue are currently in development. These methods include a more refined collection of detailed size and weight violation data and notifications in systems that roadside inspectors use to identify carriers with patterns of prior size and weight violations. In the meantime, size and weight violations have been removed from the Safety Measurement System (SMS). However, it is important to note that roadside inspectors will continue to cite these violations at the roadside, and SIs will continue to address these violations, including implementing potential enforcement actions if appropriate, through investigations.

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  15. Can you explain the research behind the Safety Measurement System (SMS) violation severity weightings? Answer

    First, applicable safety-based violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations were classified into the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Next, within each BASIC, similar violations were grouped together. For example, the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC has tire and brake groupings, among others. Within each BASIC, the violation groups were assigned severity weights that reflect the violation group's association with crash occurrence and crash consequences. The stronger the relationship between a violation group and crash risk, the higher its assigned weight.

    The violation severity weights have been converted into a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the lowest crash risk and 10 represents the highest crash risk relative to the other violations in the BASIC. Since the weights reflect the relative importance of each violation within each particular BASIC, they cannot be compared meaningfully across the various BASICs. In other words, a rating of 5 in one BASIC is not equivalent to a rating of 5 in another BASIC, but it does represent the midpoint between a crash risk of 1 and 10 within the same BASIC. This data is summarized in Appendix A of the SMS Methodology and the SMS Methodology document in Excel format.

    These weights are based on a number of studies that quantify the associations between violations and crash risk, as well as statistical analysis and input from enforcement subject matter experts and feedback from the motor carrier industry. Subject matter experts from FMCSA's field staff, including enforcement personnel and CSA development team members, examined these severity weights during the Operational Model Test and submitted recommendations to the agency to better associate crash risk with the violations. These recommendations have been incorporated into the latest version of the SMS Methodology.

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Crash Data

  1. How does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) handle crashes when motor carriers are not at fault? Answer

    The structure of the new SMS is such that the motor carrier’s role in the crash (i.e. preventability) is not automatically determined or considered. In fact, recordable crash reports that States submit to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not include the motor carrier’s role in the crash. Consequently, motor carriers are identified for possible intervention based on recordable crashes without consideration of the motor carrier’s role.

    Why does FMCSA take this approach? This approach is taken because data analysis has historically shown that motor carriers who are involved in crashes, regardless of the motor carrier’s role, are likely to be involved in more future crashes than carriers who are not. Put simply, past crashes are a good predictor of future crashes.

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  2. What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) doing in the short-term about determining the motor carrier’s role in the crash (i.e. preventability)? Answer

    The Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category percentile ranking is excluded from public websites because FMCSA understands that some crashes are unpreventable on the part of the motor carrier.

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  3. What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) doing in the long-term about crash weighting? Answer

    FMCSA is assessing the feasibility of evaluating crashes to determine the motor carrier’s role in the crash (i.e. preventability) before they are used by the Safety Measurement System in the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category. This would allow FMCSA to better concentrate intervention efforts on motor carriers that have high preventable crash rates. More information on this research can be found here: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/CrashWeightingResearchPlan_7-2012.pdf.

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  4. How do I know if a crash will be used in my Safety Measurement System (SMS) data? Answer

    All FMCSA-reportable crashes are included in the SMS. A crash is reported to FMCSA if it involves the following:

    • Any truck having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 lbs. or a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) over 10,000 lbs. used on public highways; OR
    • Any motor vehicle designed to transport more than eight people, including the driver; OR
    • Any vehicle displaying a hazardous materials placard (regardless of weight). NOTE: This criterion assumes that an officer at a crash site may not be familiar with the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (Specifically, 49 CFR Part 172). If an officer or associate is knowledgeable in those, any vehicle discovered to be transporting hazardous materials without a required placard should also be included.

    AND

    • That vehicle is involved in a crash while operating on a roadway customarily open to the public, which results in any of the following:
      • A fatality: any person(s) killed in or outside of any vehicle (truck, bus, car, etc.) involved in the crash or who dies within 30 days of the crash as a result of an injury sustained in the crash; OR
      • An injury: any person(s) injured as a result of the crash who immediately receives medical treatment away from the crash scene; OR
      • A tow away: any motor vehicle (truck, bus, car, etc.) disabled as a result of the crash and transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other vehicle.

    The SMS considers a crash applicable based on crash reports provided by the States for each crash that meets the reportable crash standard during the past 36 months for drivers and 24 months for carriers.

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  5. Is the Crash Indicator available for public view? Answer

    There is no current plan to make the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category available for public viewing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently examining crash data to see if weighting can be applied in a cost effective manner. Details about this research can be found here: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/CrashWeightingResearchPlan_7-2012.pdf.

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SMS Online

  1. What information is displayed on the Motor Carrier Overview? Answer

    The major sections displayed in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) for the selected motor carrier include the following:

    • The BASICs Overview — Provides the on-road results, investigation results, and overall performance of each BASIC.
    • Summary of Activities — Provides a summary of roadside inspections and crashes for the 24-month timeframe that the SMS results are based upon.
    • Recent Investigations — Provides a listing of the five most recent investigations performed on the motor carrier.
    • Data Downloads — Allows download of the data on inspections, violations, and crashes that are used in the motor carrier's SMS results. Data can be pulled for a specific Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) or for all BASICs in either Microsoft Excel or XML format.
    • Carrier Registration Information — Provides the motor carrier's registration information that was current when the SMS results were determined.
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  2. What is included in the Summary of Activities? Answer

    The Summary of Activities presents the number of roadside inspections and crashes that have occurred during the 24-month timeframe that is used to calculate the Safety Measurement System results for the motor carrier.

    The Total Inspections count consists of all roadside inspections (Levels I through VI).

    The Driver Inspection count consists of all Level I, II, III, and VI inspections. The driver OOS rate is calculated as the number of driver inspections with at least one driver OOS violation divided by the total number of driver inspections.

    The Vehicle Inspection count consists of all Level I, II, V, and VI inspections. The vehicle out-of-service (OOS) rate is calculated as the number of vehicle inspections with at least one vehicle OOS violation divided by the total number of vehicle inspections.

    The Placardable Hazardous Materials (HM) Inspection count consists of all vehicle inspections, Level I, II, V, and VI, where placardable quantities of HM are present. The HM OOS rate is calculated as the number of placardable HM vehicle inspections with at least one HM OOS violation divided by the total number of placardable HM vehicle inspections.

    The Total Crashes count consists of all the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration -reportable crashes. The number of crashes that resulted in an injury or fatality to a person involved in the crash is presented as well as the number that required at least one vehicle to be towed from the scene due to disabling damage where there were no injuries or fatalities.

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  3. What is included in the Recent Investigations? Answer

    The Recent Investigations list the five most recent investigations conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or its State Partners. The listing is not limited to the 24-month timeframe that is used to calculate the Safety Measurement System results for the motor carrier.

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  4. What is included in the Carrier Registration Information? Answer

    The Carrier Registration Information contains a summary of the registration information provided by the motor carrier to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA). This information is current as of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) data snapshot date. If a motor carrier updates its registration information after the SMS data snapshot date, the changes will be reflected in the next monthly SMS results.

    The most up-to-date registration information for a motor carrier can be obtained from FMCSA's SAFER system at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov .

    The date of the last update to the registration information is also listed. Motor carriers are required to update this data at least every two years. A message is displayed if the registration data has not been updated within the two-year requirement period.

    Instructions for updating motor carrier registration information are displayed by selecting the Update Registration Information button.

    Selecting the View Carrier Registration Details button will display additional details of the motor carrier's registration information, including contact information, operation classification, and type of cargo carried.

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  5. What is included in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories' (BASICs) details of the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    Each BASIC's details page, except where noted, consists of five parts:

    • BASIC Overall Status: A Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol, based on the data, indicates that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may prioritize a motor carrier for further monitoring, and the reason (roadside and/or investigation results).
    • Data Center: Provides a means to download the roadside and investigation data that SMS uses. Users can download data in Excel (XLS) or XML format for the selected BASIC or for all BASICs.
    • On-road Performance Detail tab: Provides the SMS measure, assigned percentile, and supporting information for the selected BASIC. This includes a summary listing of violations and their violation weights, and a listing of the relevant inspections for the BASIC. The full inspection report can also be accessed from this section.
    • Investigation Results Detail tab: Identifies whether a Serious Violation was discovered during the previous 12 months from the SMS data snapshot date. If a Serious Violation was discovered, the violation and the date it was cited are listed.
    • Performance Tools tab: Presents a series of graphs that can assist a motor carrier in determining its performance under the selected BASIC. Two graphs are provided: one lists the relevant inspections versus the inspections with a violation in the selected BASIC by month for the 24-month period of the SMS results, and the second graph presents the SMS results for the entire safety event group in the selected BASIC. The graph presents the measure on the vertical axis and the percentile on the horizontal axis for the safety event group.
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  6. How is a carrier's Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) Overall Status determined? Answer

    Each BASIC's Overall Status is determined by the results of the motor carrier's on-road performance over the previous 24 months and the investigation results over the previous 12 months. Overall Status will display a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol if either the on-road performance's percentile is over the established threshold or the investigation results show the discovery of a Serious Violation. This indicates that the BASIC is Exceeds Intervention Threshold and the motor carrier may be prioritized for an intervention, which can include a warning letter, investigation, and identification for a roadside inspection.

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  7. Why does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) use segmentation and how does it work? Answer

    The SMS uses segmentation within the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to account for carrier differences by placing the carrier population into two groups based on the types of vehicles operated. Carriers are grouped by the following two vehicle types/operations:

    1. Combo Segment — Combination trucks/motor coach buses constituting 70 percent or more of the total Power Units (PUs) (vehicles).
    2. Straight Segment — Straight trucks/other vehicles constituting more than 30 percent of the total PUs (vehicles).

    The segmentation of motor carriers means that companies who have fundamentally different types of vehicles/operations are not compared to each other.

    For a detailed description and examples of the safety event groupings by and for each BASIC, please refer to the SMS Methodology document.

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  8. What is a Power Unit (PU) and how does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) use this information? Answer

    PUs are recorded in the motor carrier registration data (MCS-150) on file. PUs may include vehicle types such as trucks, tractors, hazardous material tank trucks, motor coaches, and school buses.

    The number of PUs a carrier has is used in part to account for each motor carrier's level of on-road exposure when calculating the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). SMS calculates the average number of PUs for each carrier by using (1) the carrier's current number of PUs, plus (2) the number of PUs the carrier had 6 months ago, plus (3) the number of PUs the carrier had 18 months ago divided by 3. The average PUs numbers along with annual Vehicle Miles Traveled information are used as a measure of exposure to estimate the number of PUs operated over a 24-month time period when traffic enforcement violations (used in the Unsafe Driving BASIC measure) or reportable crashes (used in the Crash Indicator) could have occurred. Due to the potentially significant changes in exposure of individual carriers over the course of 24 months (via downsizing, mergers, etc.), an average number of PUs provides a more accurate estimate of vehicle exposure for carriers that have updated their MCS-150 motor carrier registration information.

    Please refer to the SMS Methodology document for additional information and an example of the average PU calculation.

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  9. What are the Serious Violations? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) includes investigation findings (e.g., what FMCSA or State Partners find during a motor carrier investigation) when assessing Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) performance. The Investigation Results Details tab provided in the Safety Measurement System Website displays a “Serious Violation Found” icon when an investigation conducted within the previous 12 months resulted in the discovery of a Serious Violation within a BASIC. Serious Violations include those that are determined as follows:

    • Those violations where noncompliance is so severe that they require immediate corrective action by a motor carrier, regardless of its overall safety posture (e.g., failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substance testing program).
    • Or, those violations which relate directly to the carrier's management and/or operational controls and are indicative of breakdowns in a carrier's management controls (pattern of violations, e.g., false reports of records of duty status).

    The “Serious Violation Found” icon will be displayed in the carrier's Investigation Results for the BASIC for 12 months following the date of the investigation. Select this link to view the list of Serious Violations.

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  10. How do I read the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) Overview? Answer

    The BASICs Overview categorizes the results for each of the seven BASICs.

    The On-road column lists the motor carrier's percentile for each BASIC. If the percentile is over the established Intervention Threshold for the motor carrier, the percentile is presented with a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol.

    The Investigation column displays the “Serious Violation Found” icon for a BASIC if a Serious Violation was cited within 12 months of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) results date. The icon will be present regardless of whether corrective actions have occurred. Select this link to view the list of Serious Violations.

    The BASICs Status column displays a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol, if either the On-road column's percentile is over the established threshold or if the Investigation column displays the “Serious Violation Found” icon. This indicates that the BASIC is in a Exceeds Intervention Threshold status and that the motor carrier may be prioritized for an investigation and a roadside inspection

    Note that for general public users, the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs display the message “Not Public.” Motor carriers that log in to the SMS can view the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs, but only for their own U.S. DOT Number. Within the BASICs details pages, inspection and violation listings are available to all users, regardless of their logged-in status, but the measure, percentile, and other specifics of these two BASICs are available only to logged-in motor carriers.

    Also, the Crash Indicator BASIC displays “Not Applicable” under the Investigation column because there are no violations associated with the Crash Indicator BASIC on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's list of Serious Violations.

    BASIC Overview Panel

    Screenshot of the BASIC overview panel

    The details of each BASIC can be accessed by clicking on the BASIC's tab within the BASICs Overview. Note that a motor carrier's past performance can be accessed by selecting History.

    To learn more about how to interpret the on-road and investigation columns click on the “What Does This Mean?” button.

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  11. What is a percentile? Answer

    The Safety Measurement System (SMS) calculates a measure for each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) as described in the SMS Methodology document. The measure is then used to assign a ranking, or percentile, for each motor carrier that has information that could be compared against other similar carriers. This percentile ranking allows the safety behavior of a carrier to be compared with the safety behavior of carriers with similar operations and numbers of safety events.

    The percentile is computed on a 0-100 scale, with 100 indicating the worst performance and 0 indicating the best performance. The carrier in the group with the highest measure will be at the 100th percentile, while the carrier with the lowest measure in the group will be at the 0 percentile. All other carriers in the group will be between these two numbers based on their compliance records.

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  12. What does it mean when a motor carrier does not have a percentile assigned within a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    Not having a percentile associated with a BASIC under the On-road Performance column may be a result of one of several situations. No Violations/No Crashes — The motor carrier has no violations or crashes within that BASIC. The following table outlines the different values displayed within the On-road Performance column for each BASIC:

    On-road Performance Column Information:
    BASIC Values Displayed
    Unsafe Driving
    • No power unit data — No registered power unit data recorded in census information
    • 0% — No inspections with a violation in this BASIC cited
    • < 3 inspections with violations — Less than 3 inspections with a violation in the BASIC
    • No violations within 1 year — No Violations cited in the past 12 months
    • Display Percentile
    Controlled Substances and Alcohol
    • 0% — No inspections with a violation in this BASIC cited
    • No violations within 1 year — No Violations cited in the past 12 months
    • Display Percentile
    Crash Indicator
    • No power unit data — No registered power unit data recorded in census information
    • 0% — No inspections with a violation in this BASIC cited
    • < 2 crashes — One crash
    • No crashes within 1 year — No crashes cited in the past 12 months
    • Display Percentile
    Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance
    • < 3 driver inspections — Not enough driver inspections to be assessed (0 to 2 inspections)
    • 0% — Enough driver inspections (3+ inspections) but no violations in this BASIC cited
    • < 3 inspections with violations — Enough inspections (+3 driver inspections) but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 2 inspections with violations)
    • No violations within 1 year — Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest driver inspection did not include violation in the BASIC
    • Display Percentile
    Driver Fitness
    • < 5 driver inspections — Not enough driver inspections to be assessed (0 to 4 inspections)
    • 0% — Enough driver inspections (5+ inspections) but no violations in this BASIC cited
    • < 5 inspections with violations — Enough inspections (+5 driver inspections) but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 4 inspections with violations)
    • No violations within 1 year — Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest driver inspection did not include violation in the BASIC
    • Display Percentile
    Vehicle Maintenance
    • < 5 vehicle inspections — Not enough vehicle inspections to be assessed (0 to 4 inspections)
    • 0% — Enough vehicle inspections (5+ inspections) but no violations cited in the BASIC
    • < 5 inspections with violations — Enough inspections (+5 vehicle inspections) but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 4 inspections with violations)
    • No violations within 1 year — Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest vehicle inspection did not include violation in the BASIC
    • Display Percentile
    Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance
    • < 5 HM placardable vehicle inspections — Not enough HM placardable vehicle inspections to be assessed (1 to 4 inspections)
    • No HM placardable vehicle inspections — Carrier does not have any relevant HM placardable vehicle inspections.
    • 0% — Enough HM placardable vehicle inspections (5+ inspections) but no HM placardable vehicle violations cited in the BASIC
    • < 5 HM placardable vehicle inspections with violations — Enough HM placardable vehicle inspections (+5 vehicle inspections) but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 4 inspections with violations)
    • No violations within 1 year — Enough HM placardable inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest vehicle inspection did not include violation in the BASIC
    • Display Percentile
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  13. If my Safety Measurement System Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) percentile ranks go up, what will happen? Answer

    Higher percentile ranks could cause a motor carrier to enter, or remain, in the pool of carriers with BASICs that exceed the Intervention Thresholds. Carriers with percentiles above a certain Intervention Threshold and meeting minimum data sufficiency requirements in a BASIC can be deemed poor safety performers. These carriers will be prioritized for Compliance, Safety, Accountability interventions. Increased percentiles may make a carrier subject to more severe interventions.

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  14. When will the Safety Measurement System (SMS) stop flagging a motor carrier? Answer

    The SMS will stop flagging motor carriers whose on-road safety performance is above the Intervention Threshold when their Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category percentile ranks are below the Intervention Thresholds. This can happen in one of two ways:

    1. Clean inspections at roadside demonstrate improved performance; and/or
    2. Poor inspections count less over time and eventually fall outside of the 24-month timeframe.

    Motor carriers may still be flagged for an intervention for a year if they receive Serious Violations during an investigation or compliance review.

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  15. How long do I have to get into compliance? Answer

    There is no grace period for achieving compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. However, carriers should know that their safety performance in the Safety Measurement System is based upon the previous 24 months of on-road performance and crash data. Understanding the regulations and ensuring vehicles and drivers are safe today will help keep carriers off of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's expanding radar tomorrow.

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  16. What information is available to help me achieve compliance? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety is designed to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

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  17. How do I improve my percentile ranks in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)? Answer

    Receiving new inspections that are free of violations will improve a carrier's percentile rank for the Hours-of-Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, and Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASICs. Carriers should also review the “What can a motor carrier do to improve?” section of the SMS Information Center. This section provides tips that may help carriers who want to improve their safety performance. There are numerous tips that will help carriers improve their SMS percentile ranks and help drivers avoid crashes and violations. Additional information can be found at How to Improve Your Percentile Ranks.

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  18. Do you have a safety consultant that you can recommend? Answer

    No, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not provide a list or otherwise recommend specific safety consultants.

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  19. Will motor carriers and drivers with minor problems be subject to interventions? Answer

    In the majority of situations, if a motor carrier is experiencing a minor problem that does not result in a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol in a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), the motor carrier will not receive an intervention. The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) interventions are designed to assist motor carriers and drivers in improving their safety performance. Under CSA, motor carriers will receive an intervention when their roadside inspection and crash data point to poor performance in a key BASIC.

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  20. How can users access Safety Measurement System (SMS) data? Answer

    Users can view motor carriers' SMS data here. Part of the website is open to the public and requires no password. The open part of the website includes each motor carrier's Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranks for five of the seven BASICs: Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Driver Fitness, and Vehicle Maintenance. The website also includes lists of crashes, roadside inspections, and violations resulting from roadside inspections.

    When motor carriers sign in, they will be able to see additional data:

    • Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC percentile rank
    • Crash Indicator BASIC percentile rank
    • Driver names and other privacy-related material from individual inspection results

    Motor carriers can sign in via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal or directly through the SMS Website. From this SMS page, a carrier representative can log in with its U.S. DOT Number and PIN in order to access the carrier's non-public data. The carrier sign-in is at the bottom center of the screen. Once signed in, you will be guided back to the SMS homepage. After that, in the search box in the middle right section of the screen, you should type in the U.S. DOT # or MC # and hit search.

    Motor carriers can request an FMCSA Portal account by clicking here and following the instructions to request an account. For additional assistance with an FMCSA Portal account, contact the Help Desk at 800-832-5660. To sign in via the SMS Website, you will need your U.S. DOT Number and PIN. Note that a Docket Number PIN will not enable you to see your SMS data. If you cannot locate your PIN or were never assigned one, complete the PIN registration process. A notification letter with your PIN will be generated and mailed to the address that was submitted on your most recent MCS-150 form. You should receive this letter within two weeks. If you need any assistance with PIN issues, call the FMCSA Help Desk at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.

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  21. How do motor carriers log in to the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    Motor carriers can log in to the SMS in one of two ways: 1.) Entering their U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT PIN via the SMS login page, or 2.) Logging into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal and selecting the SMS link. You will then enter the SMS as a logged-in user.

    If you do not know your PIN, click here and follow the link for requesting your U.S. DOT PIN. (Note: Entering the Docket Number PIN will not allow login.)

    Access to the SMS login page and to the FMCSA Portal is available from the SMS homepage, as copied below:

    Screenshot of a section of the SMS Homepage that illustrates the two methods for Motor Carriers to log in: using USDOT number and Motor Carrier PIN Number or via the FMSCA Portal.

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  22. How can a carrier allow multiple employees to see its non-public data without giving them the password to change the company's MCS-150 data? Answer

    Those motor carriers that want multiple employees to access their Safety Measurement System (SMS) data can do so using a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal account. Motor carrier Portal accounts contain a link to the SMS data. To set up an FMCSA Portal account, do the following:

    • Go to the FMCSA Portal and follow the instructions to request an FMCSA Portal account.
    • The first user generates an account using the company's U.S. DOT PIN and designates himself or herself as the Portal administrator for that company.
    • Additional employees can then set up Portal accounts.
    • The company Portal administrator (from Step 2) can approve anyone from the company requesting an account.
    • All Portal users the administrator has approved will have access to the company's SMS data, but only the administrator can update the MCS-150 registration data.

    For additional assistance with FMCSA Portal accounts, please call the Help Desk at 800-832-5660.

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  23. I'm having problems signing in to see my data. What should I do Answer

    Motor carriers need a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-issued U.S. DOT Number and a U.S. DOT PIN (not a Docket Number PIN) to access the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website. If you are experiencing difficulties, please review the information below before contacting the SMS Web team for assistance.

    • If you don't have a U.S. DOT Number:
      You cannot access the password-protected part of the SMS.
    • If you are a driver looking to see your own data:
      Driver data is not available through the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. To obtain a copy of your inspection/crash history, visit the Pre-Employment Screening Program.
    • If you do not have a PIN or don't know what it is:
      You can request a U.S. DOT PIN here and select “Click here to request your Docket Number PIN and/or U.S. DOT PIN.” Be sure to request a U.S. DOT PIN, not a Docket Number PIN. You can also call 800-832-5660 for assistance.
    • If you have a PIN but it doesn't work:
      1. Make sure you are using your U.S. DOT PIN and not your Docket PIN. Only the U.S. DOT PIN will work on the SMS Website.
      2. Verify that you are typing in your PIN correctly. Often the problem is a typo or a misreading of one or more characters. For example, users sometimes mistake the letter “O” for the number “0” or the letter “l” for the number “1,” etc. Try all possible combinations before going to the next step.
      3. Ensure that no one else in your company has changed your PIN by requesting a new one.
      4. If the above options fail, request a new U.S. DOT PIN and select “Click here to request your Docket Number PIN and/or U.S. DOT PIN.” Be sure to request a U.S. DOT PIN, not a Docket Number PIN.
    • If you need additional PIN assistance:
      Assistance with U.S. DOT PIN issues can be obtained by calling FMCSA technical support at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.
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  24. How do I change my MCS-150 data, such as Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) or Power Units (PUs)? Answer

    Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggests that motor carriers update their MCS-150 every two years, motor carriers should understand that this is just the minimum requirement; motor carriers may update their MCS-150 form at any time. FMCSA encourages carriers to update their MCS-150 any time there is a change in their data. Since the Safety Measurement System (SMS) uses VMT and PU data, motor carriers should update their form at least once a year. Motor carriers can update their MCS-150 data by selecting: “I need to update my U.S. DOT Number registration information or file my biennial update” and following the instructions. For instructions on updating your MCS-150 form, visit the MCS-150 Instructions.

    The SMS updates monthly. MCS-150 changes will not appear immediately in the SMS, but likely will show up the following month. However, MCS-150 updates should show up more quickly on SAFER.

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  25. When does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) update? Answer

    The data in the SMS updates once a month. A snapshot of the data is taken on the third or last Friday of each month and then it takes approximately 10 days to process and validate the data before it is updated on the website. It states in the upper right-hand corner in the search box of the SMS homepage the date upon which the current data is based.

    However, the MCS-150 data updates happen much faster in SAFER and roadside inspections are updated faster in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Portal. If the MCS-150 data is up-to-date in SAFER, then it will likely be updated in SMS the next month. Here is the schedule of when SMS updates.

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  26. How often are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) results updated and what timeframe does each update include? Answer

    SMS results are updated monthly. A snapshot of the data is taken on the third or last Friday of each month and then it takes approximately 10 days to process and validate the data. Once validated, the results are uploaded to the SMS Website. The table below lists a tentative schedule for future releases of SMS results:

    Release Month Data Snapshot Date Approximate Release Date
    February 2014 Friday, 01/24/2014 Week of 02/03/2014
    March 2014 Friday, 02/21/2014 Week of 03/03/2014
    April 2014 Friday, 03/28/2014 Week of 04/07/2014
    May 2014 Friday, 04/25/2014 Week of 05/05/2014
    June 2014 Friday, 05/30/2014 Week of 06/09/2014
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  27. Will the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website add a web services feature? Answer

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may add web services in 2012, but they do not exist now.

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  28. How does one view clean inspections in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    To view clean inspections (i.e., inspections with no violations), you need to select the “Relevant Inspections” button under the inspection history area on the detail pages for any of the five Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (Hours-of-Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, and Hazardous Materials Compliance).

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  29. When I add up the total of my driver, vehicle, and placardable Hazardous Materials (HM) vehicle inspections, why don't they equal my total inspection count in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Answer

    The SMS categorizes inspections into three types: driver, vehicle, and placardable HM vehicle inspections. The driver inspection examines driver issues and is associated with the following Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service Compliance, Driver Fitness, and Controlled Substances/Alcohol. The vehicle inspection relates to the following BASIC: Vehicle Maintenance. Placardable HM vehicle inspections impact the HM Compliance BASIC. During a roadside inspection, a truck can receive a driver inspection, vehicle inspection, and/or a placardable HM vehicle inspection. The total inspections will not necessarily equal the total of vehicle + driver + hazmat inspections. For example, if an inspector does a Level 1 inspection where he examines the vehicle and the driver, it would show up in the SMS like this:

    • Total inspections: 1
    • Vehicle inspections: 1
    • Driver inspections: 1
    • HM inspections: 0

    In other words, drivers and motor carriers can have more than one type of inspection during a single inspection.

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  30. How can I make a suggestion to improve the new Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website? Answer

    The SMS Website will be adding new functionality over time. Stakeholders can submit suggestions on how they would like to see the SMS Website improved by submitting their feedback here.

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Improving Percentile Ranks

  1. What can a motor carrier do to improve? Answer

    What can a motor carrier do to improve?

    1. Ensure compliance by being knowledgeable of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials (HM) Regulations, if applicable.
    2. Understand how your safety management contributes to your safety problems.
    3. Check and update your MCS-150 carrier registration information whenever there is a change to your company's profile and at least every two years, as is required by regulation.
    4. Review your inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed.
    5. Educate yourself and your employees on the regulations and industry best practices.
    1. Ensure compliance. Take action to address trends and patterns that you find.
      Learn more about the safety regulations your company has violated by reviewing the regulations and the corresponding areas in the FMCSRs:
      • Driving — FMCSR Parts 392 and 397
      • Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance — FMCSR Parts 392 and 395
      • Driver Fitness — FMCSR Parts 383 and 391
      • Controlled Substances and Alcohol — FMCSR Parts 382 and 392
      • Vehicle Maintenance — FMCSR Parts 392, 393 and 396
      • HM Compliance — FMCSR Part 397 and U.S. Department of Transportation HM regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179 & 180.

      Review FMCSA's educational and technical assistance document, A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety. This document contains useful information for both drivers and carriers.
      NOTE: Please do not use this guide as a substitute for the FMCSRs. You should consult the FMCSRs, which are updated quarterly online.

    2. Understand how your safety management contributes to your safety problems. Systematically assess your company's safety management practices and make improvements where necessary.
      It is important for you to consider how safety will be achieved within your organization. Putting this in place begins with developing processes that incorporate safety into every aspect of your operation. Whether you are just starting out, or you have an established company, you should have safety-minded business practices. These will help make sure that you follow Federal regulations. Having these in place can save lives and reduce injuries. They can also improve your company's bottom line by saving time and money on paying fines and responding to regulatory compliance issues. They can also reduce the financial cost of crashes. FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC) to help with this process. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to each of the BASICs here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. To help identify areas that are causing your safety breakdowns, use the SMC and ask yourself these questions:

      POLICIES AND PROCEDURESOperational rules and processes for a motor carrier and its employees.

      1. Do you have policies and/or procedures in place for all areas of safety, especially those FMCSA has noted as weaknesses?
        • Are your policies and procedures clearly defined for all the safety management processes noted below: roles and responsibilities; qualifications and hiring; training and communication; monitoring and tracking; and meaningful action?
        • Are they updated to match the current environment and align with regulations or other company policies?
        • Are they realistic? If implemented as stated, would they achieve intended goals?
        • Are they documented? How are they communicated?

      ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIESExpectations and assignment of duties for a motor carrier and its employees.

      1. Are the roles and responsibilities of employees in your company clearly defined?
      2. Are the roles and responsibilities effective as defined?
        • Are they complete? Do they cover all policies and procedures?
        • Are they updated to match the current environment and align with policies and procedures?
        • Are they realistic? As defined, will they achieve intended goals? Are they documented? How are they communicated?

      QUALIFICATIONS AND HIRINGFinding and qualifying people for the defined roles and responsibilities.

      Hiring

      1. Are your job descriptions well written? Do the job listings have adequate visibility? Are you getting enough applicants?
      2. Do the wrong people apply for the job because the job description does not match the real job?

      Qualifications

      1. Have you hired employees who are not qualified for the position due to:
        • lack of background investigation, or
        • lack of, or poor understanding of, the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for the job?

      TRAINING AND COMMUNICATIONOngoing process to ensure that a motor carrier and its employees have the proper skills and knowledge to complete their jobs.

      Training

      1. Do you have training in place?
      2. Is your training adequate and effective?
        • Have you conducted a comprehensive assessment of training needs?
        • Does your training method and approach match content?
        • Are your participants evaluated to see if they understand training material?
        • Was anything (or enough) done to support training in the field?

      Communication

      1. Are you communicating effectively with your employees?
      2. Are there consistent and open channels of communication within your organization?
      3. Do your communication methods match the needs of the situation? Frequency? Understandable format? Language?

      MONITORING AND TRACKINGEnsuring that a motor carrier and its employees are in compliance with policies and procedures and roles and responsibilities.

      1. Do you have a process for monitoring and tracking your employees?
      2. Are you monitoring and tracking frequently enough?
      3. Are you documenting any behavior monitoring adequately?
      4. Is the right behavior being tracked?

      MEANINGFUL ACTIONProviding positive reinforcement for, or aiming at improving or correcting, employee behavior.

      1. Are you able to effectively assess the monitoring and tracking data and select the appropriate meaningful action?
      2. Are you implementing refresher training when appropriate?
      3. Are you implementing a disciplinary process when appropriate?
      4. Are you implementing an incentive reward and recognition program?
      5. Are you implementing improvements to safety management processes when monitoring and tracking data points to a safety management process breakdown?
    3. Check and update your MCS-150 carrier registration information.
      1. Review your motor carrier information including address, email address, number of Power Units (PUs) and drivers, and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Ensure that VMT reflects the previous calendar year and is accurate.
      2. Update your motor carrier registration information (MCS-150) if any data needs to be corrected.
    4. Review your inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed. Review your reports through the SMS Website.
      1. Do all of the inspection and crash reports belong to your company? Is any of the data included in these reports incorrect? Remember that all safety-based violations count, not just out-of-service violations.
      2. If you think any of the data is erroneous, request corrections through FMCSA's DataQs system. The DataQsprogram allows motor carriers and drivers to request a data review of information that resides in FMCSA databases.
    5. Educate yourself and your employees! Visit the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website to learn more about CSA.
      1. Subscribe to the RSS feed or email list to stay connected on the latest CSA news and information.
      2. Educate your drivers!
        1. Hand out the Driver Factsheet (PDF, 399 KB). This factsheet tells drivers what they need to know about CSA and what they can do to prepare for the change.
        2. Review with drivers FMCSA's CMV Web-Based Driving Tips. This website was developed to raise the consciousness of CMV drivers about common driving errors and to provide valuable driving tips through an easily accessible tool: the Internet. Fleet safety managers can also use this website for their driver training programs. These tips offer preventive measures that drivers can take to help avoid crashes.
        3. Fleet safety managers can also leverage the SIRs available within the SMS. SIRs is a compilation of articles, reports, and other tools designed to assist motor carriers with improving their current safety management practices. SIRs are searchable by resource number, BASIC, or safety management practice.
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  2. What are the Safety Improvement Resources (SIRs) and how can they be used? Answer

    The SIRs are a compilation of articles, reports, and other tools designed to assist motor carriers with improving their current Safety Management Practices (SMPs). SIRs are unavailable at this time.

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  3. How can a carrier improve in the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The Unsafe Driving BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations include speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 392 and 397). The following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) resources can help motor carriers improve their Unsafe Driving BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Unsafe Driving BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_019_UnsafeDriv_SMC.pdf.

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  4. How can a carrier improve in the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The HOS Compliance BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in noncompliance with the HOS regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to records of duty status (RODS) as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example violations include exceeding HOS, maintaining incomplete or inaccurate RODS, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 392 and 395). The following resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the HOS Compliance BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the HOS Compliance BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_004_HOS_Compl_SMC.pdf.

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  5. How can a carrier improve in the Driver Fitness Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The Driver Fitness BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations include failing to have a valid and appropriate Commercial Driver's License and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 383 and 391). The following resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the Driver Fitness BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Driver Fitness BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_021_Fitness_SMC.pdf.

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  6. How can a carrier improve in the Controlled Substances/Alcohol Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations include use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 382 and 392). The following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Controlled Substance and Alcohol BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_022_Sub_Alc_SMC.pdf.

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  7. How can a carrier improve in the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The Vehicle Maintenance BASIC addresses the requirements within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), specifically 49 CFR Parts 392393 and 396, to properly maintain a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and to prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and overloading of a CMV. The following resources can help motor carriers improve their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC measure:

    • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Education & Technical Assistance Program's A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety, pages 81-88 and 97-110.  This guide includes a number of forms and procedural information including:
      • FMCSA's Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance Forms (pg 106)
      • North American Standard Inspection Procedure: Get familiar with the inspection procedures that roadside inspectors follow and ensure that your company's vehicles are well-maintained (pg 104)
      • Driver Vehicle Inspection Form: Pre-trip inspections can help to prevent vehicle-related violations. (pg 102)

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_007_VM_Cargo_SMC.pdf and https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_005_VM_Inspect-Repair_SMC.pdf.

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  8. How can a carrier improve in the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The HM Compliance BASIC includes unsafe handling of HM on a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Example violations: leaking containers, improper placarding, improperly packaged HM. (FMCSR Part 397 and U.S. Department of Transportation HM regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179 & 180). The following resources can help motor carriers improve their HM Compliance BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the HM Compliance BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_006_HM_Compliance_SMC.pdf.

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  9. How can a carrier improve in the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)? Answer

    The following crash countermeasure resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the Crash Indicator BASIC measure:

    Motor-Carrier-Management-Related:

    Driver-Related:

    Vehicle-Related:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC).  The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations   The SMC has its own webpage located here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx.  Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Crash Indicator BASIC here:  https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_018_CrashIndic_SMC.pdf.

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