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December 3, 2012

FMCSA updates Safety Measurement System

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented 11 new improvements to its Safety Measurement System (SMS).

The changes, developed over several months with feedback from the public and stakeholders throughout the industry, will enhance the agency’s ability to identify and take action against trucks and buses with safety and compliance concerns.  

The SMS uses all available inspection and crash data to prioritize carriers for interventions. SMS quantifies on-road safety performance of carriers to identify the specific safety problems the carrier exhibits and to monitor whether performance is improving or worsening. SMS helps FMCSA more efficiently apply its resources and bring carriers and drivers into compliance with federal safety regulations in order to prevent crashes and save lives.

"Safety is our number one priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “These improvements will enable us to more accurately identify unsafe truck and bus companies and intervene before tragedies occur.”

The SMS improvements will give FMCSA more precise information to assess a company’s on-the-road safety performance. The enhancements implemented today include:

  • Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC to better identify HM-related safety and compliance problems. Motor carriers and law enforcement can view this new BASIC in December; however FMCSA will conduct further monitoring before the BASIC is made public.
  • Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by including cargo and load securement violations that were previously in the Cargo-Related BASIC.
  • Counting intermodal equipment violations found during drivers’ pre-trip inspections.
  • Aligning speeding violations to be consistent with current speedometer regulations that require speedometers to be accurate within 5 mph. The change applies to the prior 24 months of data used by the SMS and all SMS data moving forward.
  • Changing the name of the Fatigued Driving BASIC to the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC to more accurately reflect violations contained within the BASIC.
  • Aligning the severity weight of paper and electronic logbook violations equally on the SMS for consistency purposes.

FMCSA provided a four-month preview period to give the public and industry ample opportunity to review and comment on the proposed changes to FMCSA's SMS. Overall, more than 19,000 companies and 2,900 law enforcement personnel participated in the public preview.

Motor carriers are encouraged to check their safety data to see how the SMS changes may have affected their SMS results.

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