Understanding the following information will help carriers analyze their SMS safety data at a deeper level. Carriers that have a deeper understanding of their SMS data will be able to fix their safety problems more easily. This will improve their SMS percentile ranks in the long run. This document is divided into sections that are aligned with the tabs in the SMS Excel download.
This tab will be found in all of the SMS Excel downloads for each carrier except the crash file. The main benefit of analyzing the data in this tab is to look at the frequency of violations on three levels. One level is to look at an individual violation by the code and compare to see which violations are the most frequent. Another level is to look at which violations are leading to the most out-of service (OOS) violations. The last and most important analysis of the data in this tab involves grouping violations that are similar. For example, put together all speeding violations or all violations about tires, etc. Next, examine the groups of violations to see which groups of violations come up most frequently. The carrier will have an idea of where to focus after these analyses are done in conjunction with the other sections of the download. The carrier should consider not only the frequency of the violation, but also the severity points for each violation when deciding which violation to focus on. Carriers can look up the severity weights of each violation here: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_AppendixA_ViolationsList.xlsx
This tab will be found in all of the SMS Excel downloads for each carrier except the crash file. If the carrier has numerous Acute and/or Critical Violations, analysis should be done by grouping similar types of violations. Next, the carrier for each violation and/or each violation type should to try to understand how your safety management contributes to your safety breakdowns. Systematically assess your company’s Safety Management Practices and make improvements where necessary.
Inspections with Violation
This tab will be found in all of the SMS Excel downloads for each carrier except the crash file. This tab has numerous fields, which lend to various types of analysis.
For the inspection section, carriers can analyze their inspection data by date, allowing the carrier to see if trends exist for certain time periods. The carrier should look to see if there are certain periods of time where certain types of violations were more or less present. In addition to looking at the data chronologically, a carrier can look at blocks of time or seasons. Carriers can sort the data by State to see if there are any geographical trends by examining the data at the State by State or regional level. Carriers can also look to see, if applicable, the impact of Hazardous Materials (HM) inspections vs. non-HM materials inspections.
Carriers will want to organize their inspection data by driver. This includes looking at individual drivers, but also grouping drivers by where they are based (if relevant) and type of load(s) they haul (if relevant).
The vehicle section will help carriers see if certain types of trucks are causing more issues than others. This field is particularly useful with the Vehicle Maintenance and HM Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).
Viewing the violations, their severity weights, and their impact on OOS can also be a rich data source for carriers. The main benefit is to look at the frequency of violations on many levels. One level is took an individual violations by looking at the code and comparing to see which violations are the most frequent. Another level is to look at which violations are leading to the most OOS violations. Carriers should group violations that are similar; for example, put together all speeding violations or all violations about tires, etc. and then examine which violations come up most frequently. Lastly, carriers should look at the severity weights of the violations as they, along with the frequency, can help the carrier know where to focus. Multiplying the number of times a certain violation occurred with the severity weight can show a carrier how a violation or a group of violations can be impacting a carrier overall.
Carriers who have enough crashes can use this Excel file to help identify three types of trends. Carriers can see if their crashes are happening in a certain State or part of the country, which can then lead the carrier into an inquiry of why that is so. The carrier can determine if there are particular drivers who are prone to crashing. If certain individuals are the problem, this will focus the carrier on how to proceed with fixing the problem. Carriers with multiple drivers could look to see if the majority of drivers are coming from a certain location. Lastly, the carriers are given the Vehicle Identification Numbers of trucks and can use this information to determine types of trucks getting into crashes. This might lead to some interesting trends if certain types of vehicles are crashing more frequently than others. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lists a lot of crash countermeasures on their website that can assist motor carriers with ways to improve their Crash Indicator BASIC measure.
Carriers should almost always look at each BASIC by itself as the data is most useful when analyzed this way. However, it could be helpful to look at all of the BASICs together when examining how many violations each driver is contributing to the carrier’s safety record.
Additionally, FMCSA has some information in the SMS Information Center that will help carriers improve in each of the BASICs: