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FMCSA - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration

CSA - Compliance, Safety, Accountability

Get Road Smart.


SMS - Safety Measurement System SMS - Safety Measurement System

Help Center

Get your questions about the proposed SMS enhancements and the preview answered here. You can find preview resources or check out FAQs. Don’t know where to start on the preview site? Click on Get Started to find out how to tour each proposed change and learn how to submit comments after your tour.

Tour Each Change

See our proposed enhancements in action. On the SMS Preview Homepage, select a proposed enhancement to take a tour of that change. This tour uses an example carrier to walk you through the proposed change and show you how that change may impact SMS results. You can return to the SMS Preview Homepage to tour another change or explore each change on your own by hovering over the blue flags.


Need Help?

If you have additional questions about the SMS Preview, call our CSA InfoLine Team at 1-877-254-5365 or fill out this form.


Submit Comments

Comment on these proposed changes through the Federal Register Notice.

Learn what you need to know about the proposed SMS enhancements. Select a resource below that you can download, print, and share.


Browse these FAQs to learn more about the SMS Preview and each proposed enhancement.

  • FMCSA is committed to continually evolving and enhancing the SMS in response to new data, stakeholder feedback, and analyses to make our roads safer for everyone. That is why we propose enhancements to the SMS that put our SMS Effectiveness Test (ET) and stakeholder input to work to more effectively prioritize those motor carriers that pose the greatest safety risk for interventions. These proposed enhancements to the SMS would allow us to sharpen our focus on carriers with high crash rates, prioritize our investigative resources on carriers with more crash involvement, more accurately account for the carriers that possess increased exposure due to above average Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT), and strengthen Hazardous Materials (HM) compliance. Results from our SMS ET show that these proposed changes would identify carriers for prioritization that have a crash rate 8 percent higher than those identified by the current methodology (from 4.82 to 5.21 crashes per 100 Power Units (PUs)).

    To learn more about these proposed enhancements, review the Foundational Document. You can also visit the SMS Preview Homepage to tour each of the proposed enhancements.

  • FMCSA is proposing these changes to gather input and comments from the public and the industry to further inform the Correlation Study being conducted by the National Academies of Sciences. The proposed changes, if adopted, will not be implemented until after FMCSA receives any recommendations from the study and identifies any necessary corrective actions. In the meantime, the comments and analysis will be provided for consideration in the study.

  • Motor carriers are prioritized for interventions if their Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) are at or above Intervention Thresholds. Industry stakeholders maintain that some of the Intervention Thresholds are ineffective because their BASICs are not highly correlated to crash risk. FMCSA proposes an enhancement to the Intervention Thresholds for the Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, and Driver Fitness BASICs to more closely reflect these BASICs’ correlation to crash risk and improve our focus on carriers with high crash rates. This enhancement includes:

    • Adjusting the Intervention Threshold for the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC
      We propose adjusting the Intervention Threshold for the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC from 80 percent to 75 percent to reflect its higher correlation to crash risk. We also propose adjusting the passenger carrier and Hazardous Materials (HM) carrier thresholds for this BASIC using the same approach; the passenger carrier threshold would be reduced from 65 percent to 60 percent and the HM carrier threshold would drop from 75 percent to 70 percent.
    • Adjusting the Intervention Threshold for the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC
      We propose adjusting the Intervention Threshold for the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC from 80 percent to 90 percent to reflect its lower correlation to crash risk. We also propose adjusting the passenger carrier and HM carrier thresholds for this BASIC using the same approach; the passenger carrier threshold would be raised from 65 percent to 75 percent while the HM carrier threshold would increase from 75 percent to 85 percent.
    • Adjusting the Intervention Threshold for the Driver Fitness BASIC
      We propose adjusting the Intervention Threshold for the Driver Fitness BASIC from 80 percent to 90 percent to reflect its lower correlation to crash risk. We also propose adjusting the passenger carrier and HM carrier thresholds for this BASIC using the same approach; the passenger carrier threshold would be raised from 65 percent to 75 percent and the HM carrier threshold would increase from 75 percent to 85 percent.

    To learn more about this proposed change, review the Foundational Document. You can also Tour this Change to see this proposed enhancement in action.

  • FMCSA proposes an enhancement to the crash data sufficiency standards to focus our investigative resources on carriers with more crash involvement. We propose increasing the number of crashes required to assign carriers a percentile in the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) from two to three. Currently, we assign percentiles in this BASIC if carriers have had at least two reportable crashes in the past two years.

    To learn more about this proposed change, review the Foundational Document. You can also Tour this Change to see this proposed enhancement in action.

  • FMCSA proposes an enhancement to sharpen our focus on motor carriers with recent violations. We propose to simplify our data sufficiency standards by only assigning Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentiles to carriers that have had an inspection with a violation in the past year. Currently, we assign percentiles in the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance, and Driver Fitness BASICs to carriers that meet the following criteria: the most recent inspection from the past two years resulted in a violation.

    To learn more about this proposed change, review the Foundational Document. You can also Tour this Change to see this proposed enhancement in action.

  • The Utilization Factor accounts for the motor carriers that possess increased exposure due to above average Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT). These carriers are also referred to as high-utilization carriers. We propose adjusting their average Power Unit (PU) values when calculating measures in the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Carriers with higher Utilization Factors would see a reduction in their measures for the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs.

    Industry stakeholders noted that the current limit for the Utilization Factor of 200,000 VMT per average PU does not accurately reflect the increased exposure of these carriers. FMCSA proposes expanding the range over which the Utilization Factor is applied from 200,000 to 250,000 VMT per average PU to more accurately account for these carriers.

    To learn more about this proposed change, review the Foundational Document. You can also Tour this Change to see this proposed enhancement in action.

  • FMCSA proposes an enhancement to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) to make it more effective at identifying motor carriers with HM compliance problems for interventions. This enhancement includes:

    • Segmenting this BASIC by Discerning Cargo Tank and Non-Cargo Tank Operations
      Industry stakeholders raised concerns to FMCSA that large non-cargo tank HM carriers have difficulty improving in the HM Compliance BASIC because they are compared to cargo tank HM carriers. Cargo tank and non-cargo tank operations often result in different violations. Segmenting these carriers would enable the SMS to account for these differences when assigning percentiles in this BASIC.
    • Adjusting this BASIC’s Intervention Threshold
      We propose adjusting the HM Compliance BASIC’s Intervention Threshold from 80 percent to 90 percent to reflect its lower correlation to crash risk.

    To learn more about this proposed change, review the Foundational Document. You can also Tour this Change to see this proposed enhancement in action.

  • A Hazardous Materials (HM) placardable vehicle inspection is classified as a cargo tank inspection if the carrier’s cargo tank type on its inspection report is MC 300 Series, DOT 400 Series, or Other. All other HM placardable inspections are classified as non-cargo tank inspections.

  • An operating while out-of-service (OOS) violation occurs when a driver continues to operate after receiving an OOS Order without correcting the OOS condition. Currently, FMCSA categorizes operating while OOS violations under the same Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) as the initial OOS violation. To more effectively identify driver safety problems related to OOS, FMCSA proposes moving operating while OOS violations to the Unsafe Driving BASIC. This proposed change would consolidate driver safety problems that are currently spread across multiple BASICs.

    To learn more about this proposed change, review the Foundational Document. You can also Tour this Change to see this proposed enhancement in action.

  • We updated the results of our SMS Effectiveness Test (ET) to reflect these proposed enhancements in two easy-to-read graphs. Select “How does the SMS relate to crashes?” to view these graphs, or click here.

  • To access the SMS Preview Website, log into the Portal and select the CSA Outreach link. If you are logged in to the CSA Website, you can also select an SMS Preview link.

  • During the public preview, carriers can log in on the SMS Preview Homepage or via the CSA Outreach link in the Portal using their U.S. DOT Number and PIN. Once logged in, carriers can see how the proposed enhancements may impact their own SMS results.

  • During the public preview, carriers can see how the proposed enhancements may impact their own SMS results. The public can see the impact of the proposed changes by viewing example carriers and touring each proposed enhancement.

  • Carriers can view their own safety data by logging in to the SMS Website. This is the SMS Preview site where carriers can see how the proposed enhancements may impact their SMS results.

  • Click on Get Started here in the Help Center to learn what you can do on the SMS Preview site, from touring each proposed enhancement to submitting comments after your tour.

  • Go to the SMS Preview Homepage, and select a proposed enhancement to take a tour of that change. You can also explore each change on your own. Just hover over the blue flags for detailed information about each proposed change.

  • To comment on these proposed enhancements, visit the Federal Register Notice.

  • You can comment on the proposed enhancements for 60 days. The comment period will close on December 3, 2016.

  • FMCSA is holding four Q&A sessions for the public, where you will be able to ask questions about the proposed enhancements and receive real-time responses. The schedule for the sessions is provided below.

    • Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 10:00-11:30 a.m. Eastern Time (ET)
    • Thursday, October 13, 2016, 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET
    • Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET
    • Thursday, October 20, 2016, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET

    Before the Q&A sessions, you can view a video presentation on the proposed changes and how to use the preview site. You can also review slides and a transcript of that presentation. All of these materials are available on the Resources page in the Help Center. Then simply join in online for a Q&A session of your choice. Each session will end once all questions have been answered. We encourage you to submit questions before the Q&A sessions via the CSA Feedback form.

    Register for one of the sessions via the here.

  • All of the reference materials for the Q&A sessions are available on the Resources page of the Help Center. Once there, you can review the video presentation, as well as the slides and transcript of that presentation. You can also access the video here and the transcript here.

  • If you are not able to find an answer to your question in the Help Center, please contact our CSA InfoLine Team at 1-877-254-5365, or fill out this form.