1. What can a motor carrier do to improve?
- Ensure compliance by being knowledgeable of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials (HM) Regulations, if applicable.
- Understand how your safety management contributes to your safety problems.
- 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.
- Review your inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed.
- Educate yourself and your employees on the regulations and industry best practices.
- 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:
- Unsafe 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.
- 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 PROCEDURES — Operational rules and processes for a motor carrier and its employees.
- 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 RESPONSIBILITIES — Expectations and assignment of duties for a motor carrier and its employees.
- Are the roles and responsibilities of employees in your company clearly defined?
- 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 HIRING — Finding and qualifying people for the defined roles and responsibilities.
- Are your job descriptions well written? Do the job listings have adequate visibility? Are you getting enough applicants?
- Do the wrong people apply for the job because the job description does not match the real job?
- 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 COMMUNICATION — Ongoing process to ensure that a motor carrier and its employees have the proper skills and knowledge to complete their jobs.
- Do you have training in place?
- 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?
- Are you communicating effectively with your employees?
- Are there consistent and open channels of communication within your organization?
- Do your communication methods match the needs of the situation? Frequency? Understandable format? Language?
MONITORING AND TRACKING — Ensuring that a motor carrier and its employees are in compliance with policies and procedures and roles and responsibilities.
- Do you have a process for monitoring and tracking your employees?
- Are you monitoring and tracking frequently enough?
- Are you documenting any behavior monitoring adequately?
- Is the right behavior being tracked?
MEANINGFUL ACTION — Providing positive reinforcement for, or aiming at improving or correcting, employee behavior.
- Are you able to effectively assess the monitoring and tracking data and select the appropriate meaningful action?
- Are you implementing refresher training when appropriate?
- Are you implementing a disciplinary process when appropriate?
- Are you implementing an incentive reward and recognition program?
- Are you implementing improvements to safety management processes when monitoring and tracking data points to a safety management process breakdown?
- Check and update your MCS-150 carrier registration information.
- 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.
- Update your motor carrier registration information (MCS-150) if any data needs to be corrected.
- Review your inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed. Review your reports through the SMS Website.
- 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.
- If you think any of the data is erroneous, request corrections through FMCSA's DataQs system. The DataQs program allows motor carriers and drivers to request a data review of information that resides in FMCSA databases.
- Educate yourself and your employees! Visit the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website to learn more about CSA.
- Subscribe to the RSS feed or email list to stay connected on the latest CSA news and information.
- Educate your drivers!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
2. How can a carrier improve in the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement
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.
3. How can carriers successfully navigate the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program?
There are several steps that carriers can take to successfully navigate the CSA program.
Check, update, and review your records:
- Ensure that your Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150) is up-to-date and accurate. Pay special attention to the number of Power Units and Vehicle Miles Traveled that are used in some of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) calculations.
- Monitor and review your Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) status that includes your on-road performance, inspection and crash data, as well as your investigation results in the 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.
- Review your inspection and violation history for the past two years. Identify patterns, trends, and areas that need improvement and address them now.
- Examine your business processes to determine how they may be contributing to any safety compliance issues by using the Safety Management Cycle.
- Make sure your drivers know that inspections are more important than ever, all violations count in the SMS, not just out-of-service violations, and that their performance impacts their Pre-Employment Screening Program records and the SMS record of the carrier they are working for.
- Read over the FMCSA FAQs that help carriers improve compliance in general, as well as for each BASIC: Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Driver Fitness.
Visit the CSA Website:
4. Why didn't my MCS-150 update show up in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?
The new SMS data updates once a month. A snapshot of the data is taken on the third or last Friday of each month, and it takes approximately 10 days to process and validate the data before it is updated on the website. The snapshot date is located above the summary of the Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category percentile ranks in the SMS. The likely reason that your MCS-150 data is not up-to-date in SMS is that you made the change after the date of the snapshot.
5. Which carriers are included in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all carriers throughout North America that haul loads over 10,000 lbs. and travel interstate. FMCSA also regulates carriers that haul hazardous materials intrastate. These are the carriers that are included in the SMS.
6. What data does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) use?
The 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.
7. How long are violations/crashes on my Safety Measurement System (SMS) results?
Any violation or crash that occurred within the previous 24 months of performance data is considered when determining the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) measure. However, inspections, violations, and crashes are time weighted when they are included in the SMS calculations. Events that have occurred within 6 months of the SMS run date receive the highest time weight (they are multiplied times 3), events greater than 6 months but less than or equal to 12 months are assigned less time weight (they are multiplied times 2), and events that occurred greater than 12 months from the SMS run date are assigned the smallest time weight (they are multiplied times 1). Details are explained in the SMS Methodology document.
8. How does a driver's violation history impact a carrier's Safety Measurement System
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.
9. How have Roadside Inspections been improved, including getting states to upload
their inspections faster?
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.