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3.3 Identifying Carriers that Pose a Safety Hazard

FMCSA identifies carriers that pose a safety hazard by reviewing data stored in its Safety Measurement System (SMS). FMCSA updates the SMS once a month with data from inspections, including driver and vehicle violations; crash reports from the last two years; and investigation results. The SMS considers the following to prioritize carriers for interventions (e.g., warning letters, Onsite Investigations):

  • The number of safety violations, inspections, and crashes.
  • The severity of safety violations and crashes.
  • When the safety violations and crashes occurred, with recent events weighted more heavily.
  • The number of trucks/buses a carrier operates and the number of vehicle miles traveled.
  • Acute and Critical Violations found during investigations. (See 49 CFR 385, Appendix B, VII for a list of Acute and Critical Violations).
  • FMCSA also considers other factors, such as complaints and Federal mandates, in prioritizing carriers for intervention and determining which type of intervention is most appropriate. Learn more about the SMS Methodology.

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