FMCSA Proposes Changes to Its Safety Measurement System

Trucking Trends

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) in February announced proposed changes to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program to reduce and prevent crashes. Public comments on the proposed changes are due this month.

The FMCSA’s goal is to ensure greater consistency in results by holding similar carriers to the same standard, regardless of how their safety issues are documented; improve the quality of the data; and help motor carriers better understand their results and how to use them to adopt safer behaviors.

The Safety Measurement System (SMS), the CSA enforcement tool, currently analyzes motor carrier safety data — violations, crashes, and other metrics — to assist in identifying high-risk motor carriers. The proposed CSA changes would not affect the data sources but, rather, how the data are used. According to the FMCSA, some of the revisions include:

  • Move the violations and crashes that fall under what is now called “Basics” to a new set of “Safety Categories.” The categories will include unsafe driving, crash indicator, hours-of-service compliance, vehicle maintenance, hazard material compliance, and driver fitness.
  • Split vehicle maintenance into two categories: (1) “Driver Observed” – what a driver should detect pre- or post-trip and (2) the “Other” category, which will include all vehicle maintenance violations.
  • Reorganize roadside violations. Categorize 973 violations into 116 groups, with each group including violations for similar safety behaviors, to prevent multiple violations cited for a similar underlying issue. For example, if an officer cites a motor carrier during a roadside inspection for two or more violations from the same violation group, it is attributed to the group as a whole and scored only once.
  • Simplify severity weight slimdown to no more than 1 to 10 weighting of violations.
  • Adjust some of the intervention thresholds that identify companies for possible intervention.
  • Use a proportionate percentile for the exact number of inspections and crashes rather than cutoffs in the SMS established by safety event groups. This is designed to have the carrier’s percentile impacted by its events.
  • Update utilization factor from 200,000 to 250,000 vehicle miles traveled (VMT).
  • Segment driver fitness into “straight trucks” and “combination” carriers.

If and when these changes go into effect, it’s important to know what to expect so you understand how these proposed revisions will impact your safety score – up or down. You can visit CSA Prioritization Preview for more information.

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