Government Issues

FMCSA: Study validates SMS' effectiveness

Posted on February 7, 2014

A new study confirms the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) is more effective at identifying commercial bus and truck companies of all sizes for targeted enforcement than the system it replaced.

Researchers analyzed the association between historical carrier data and future crash involvement by taking two years of pre-SMS safety data for a subset of carriers, running it through the system’s algorithm and following those companies’ crash records for 18 months.

Results show the companies the SMS would have identified for interventions, such as roadside inspections, warning letters and on-site investigations, had a future crash rate of more than double the national average. In addition, 79% of the carriers that SMS would have ranked as high risk in at least one of the seven safety categories it monitors, had higher future crash rates compared to those it would not have identified.

SMS is a component of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, which was launched in 2010 to identify and prioritize motor carriers that pose the highest threat to public safety for enforcement interventions. The study was conducted by the Volpe Center and peer-reviewed by independent experts. To view the full report, click here.

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