This a compilation of questions that were developed to assist the public with basic questions about CSA. As questions come in through the website, they, along with their answers, are added to the database. If you don’t see your question or topic addressed, please contact us by submitting a feedback. We will respond to you directly and consider your question for inclusion in FAQs.
How often are SMS results updated? Back
A. SMS results are updated monthly. A snapshot of the data is taken on the 3rd or 4th Friday of each month and then it takes approximately 10 days to process and validate the data. Once validated, the results are uploaded to the SMS Website. The table below lists a tentative schedule for future releases of SMS results:
Describe the serious driver violations that are sometimes called Red Flag Violations. Back
A. When investigating a motor carrier, a Safety Investigator (SI) looks at driver history for egregious violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). These violations are sometimes referred to as Red Flag Violations, and are always investigated as part of a carrier investigation. The SI conducting the investigation looks to see if the violation has been corrected. At present, there are 12 such violations, though this list may be updated periodically. These violations are outlined in the table below, along with the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to which they correspond.
||Operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with more than one driver's license|
||Operating a CMV without a valid commercial driver's license (CDL)|
||Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified|
||Operating a CMV with improper CDL group|
||Driver lacking valid license for type vehicle being operated |
||Driver disqualified from operating CMV|
||Driving a CMV while disqualified|
||Driver uses or is in possession of drugs|
||Possession/use/under influence of alcohol less than 4 hours prior to duty|
|Fatigued Driving (HOS)
||Driving after being declared out-of-service (OOS)|
||Operating an OOS vehicle|
Any driver violations identified and addressed during carrier investigations that are not corrected may result in a driver Notice of Violation (NOV) or Notice of Claim (NOC).
What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), who can access it, and how? Back
A. PSP is a new FMCSA program mandated by Congress that is designed to assist the motor carrier industry in assessing individual operators' crash and serious safety violation history as a pre-employment condition. The program is voluntary and is not part of CSA.
Through NIC Technologies, motor carriers may request driver information for the purpose of pre-employment screening. The driver must provide written consent. Individual drivers may request their own driver information record at any time. The information will be retrieved from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). MCMIS electronic profiles contain five years of crash data and three years of inspection data; however, MCMIS does not include conviction data. There is a fee for this service. A carrier cab enroll in PSP, visit http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/Pages/Enroll.aspx.
How does a driver's violation history impact a carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) evaluation? Back
A. Carriers are evaluated only on inspections and crashes associated with their own USDOT Number, so only violations that a driver receives while working for a motor carrier apply to that carrier's SMS evaluation. Therefore, the driver's violation history before the driver is hired and after the driver's employment is terminated will not impact a motor carrier's SMS results. However, even if a motor carrier terminates a driver, all of the driver's crashes and inspection results that he or she received while operating for that carrier still apply to the carrier's SMS evaluation for 24 months from the date of occurrence. Because the data is time-weighted, the effect of those occurrences on the motor carrier's percentile rank will diminish over the course of the 24 months.
Why is CSA being implemented? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations can be found here. The FMCSA's “A Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety” is also designed to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).
How does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) handle warning tickets for speeding? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses violations that are documented on inspection reports in the SMS. Therefore, regardless of whether a law enforcement officer issues a State citation, written warning, or verbal warning in conjunction with the violation, the violation on the inspection report is incorporated into the SMS. In the SMS, such violations are associated with the motor carrier USDOT Number listed on the inspection report. FMCSA's Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) provides a driver's crash and inspection history. Therefore, such violations are incorporated into the PSP report. Drivers can access their own PSP report, and with driver permission, this information may be provided to motor carriers only when they are hiring new drivers. Please see the PSP Website for more information.
FMCSA conducted effectiveness testing on the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC of the Carrier SMS (CSMS as it is currently calculated using all recorded moving violations, without regard to whether a citation was issued. The analysis demonstrated a strong relationship between high scores in the Unsafe Driving BASIC, as derived by including all recorded moving violations, and future crashes. From a legal standpoint, the agency's use of warnings as one factor in selection of an intervention does not constitute deprivation of a property interest for which a due process procedure is required. FMCSA has, however, as part of its attempt at further effectiveness analysis, reviewed the existing inspection data to determine if it is feasible to exclude recorded moving violations from consideration by the CSMS when a citation is not issued. At this time, it is not feasible. A free-form text field exists in violation reports whereby an enforcement officer can enter whether a citation was issued. However, the completeness and accuracy of this field is not sufficient to employ in the CSMS at this time. To address this issue, FMCSA is considering the addition of a simple Yes/No field to indicate whether a citation was issued in conjunction with the recorded speeding violation.
Furthermore, based upon concerns expressed by the American Trucking Associations and motor carriers participating in the CSA Operational Model Test, FMCSA implemented modifications to the roadside inspection software used by its field staff and State Partners that require roadside officers to designate the severity of speeding offenses recorded on roadside inspections. For example, the enforcement officer will have to designate whether the recorded speeding violation was 1-5 MPH over the speed limit, 6-10 MPH over, etc. This allows FMCSA to assign less weight to less severe speeding violations in the SMS
Will all motor carriers with safety alerts receive a warning letter before they hear anything else from FMCSA? Back
A. Not necessarily. Motor carriers will enter the interventions process based on the nature and severity of their safety alerts. If a carrier's safety alerts are serious, it may enter the process through receiving an offsite, onsite focused, or onsite comprehensive investigation. If a carrier's safety alerts are just emerging, FMCSA will issue a warning letter. If a carrier's safety performance does not improve or diminishes after receipt of a warning letter, the carrier will enter the progressive process and receive an investigation. If performance improves, the carrier will no longer be identified for intervention.
Who sends and receives warning letters, and what are the expectations for a motor carrier's response? Back
A. Warning letters are sent to motor carriers by FMCSA headquarters. A warning letter notifies a motor carrier that its safety performance data shows that the carrier is not fully complying with all applicable FMCSA safety regulations. The warning letter lists the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories where the carrier's performance indicates safety issues and encourages the carrier to look at its Safety Measurement System data online. The warning letter does not require the motor carrier to respond to FMCSA. Motor carriers that receive warning letters should review their safety data and develop and execute strategies that will make their operation compliant with the safety regulations. Continued poor performance will lead to more intensive interventions.
For additional information, view the Warning Letter Factsheet.
How can a carrier allow multiple employees to see its non-public data without giving them the password to change the company's MCS-150 data? Back
A. Those motor carriers that want multiple employees to access their Safety Measurement System (SMS) data can do so using a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal account. Motor carrier Portal accounts contain a link to the SMS data. To set up an FMCSA Portal account, do the following:
1- Go to the FMCSA Portal and follow the instructions to request an FMCSA Portal account.
2- The first user generates an account using the company's USDOT PIN and designates him- or herself as the Portal administrator for that company.
3- Additional employees can then set up Portal accounts.
4- The company Portal administrator (from step 2) can approve anyone from the company requesting an account.
5- All Portal users approved by the administrator have access to the company's SMS data, but only the administrator can update the MCS-150 registration data.
For additional assistance with FMCSA Portal accounts, please call their help desk at 800-832-5660.
How does an investigation work? Back
A. There are three types of investigations: offsite, onsite focused, and onsite comprehensive. Offsite investigations are conducted over the phone and through e-mail, fax, and mail, while onsite focused and onsite comprehensive investigations are conducted at a carrier's place of business.
The investigation process is similar for all investigation types. A Federal or State Safety Investigator (SI) reviews a motor carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) data, the specific violations that compose the SMS, and the motor carrier's intervention history. Next, the SI interviews representatives from the motor carrier over the phone and/or in person and reviews selected documents. The SI engages in these activities to examine the carrier's operations for compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and to determine, with the carrier's participation, the organizational process breakdowns that are triggering the carrier's safety violations. The SI will determine the appropriate follow-on intervention(s) (e.g., Notice of Claim, Notice of Violation, and/or Cooperative Safety Plan). In addition, the SI will discuss with the carrier how it might improve its operations so that its alerted SMS scores will improve.
What are CSA's new interventions? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and State Partners use measurement results to identify carriers for Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) interventions. These interventions offer an expanded suite of tools ranging from warning letters to onsite comprehensive investigations. These tools supplement the former labor-intensive compliance review (CR) to better address the specific safety problems identified.
CSA investigators are equipped to systematically evaluate why safety problems are occurring, recommend remedies, encourage corrective action(s), and, where corrective action is inadequate, invoke strong penalties. Interventions provide carriers with the information necessary to understand their safety problems and to change unsafe behavior early on. Interventions under CSA are categorized into early contact, investigation, and follow-on, which are described in detail below:
- Warning Letter — Correspondence sent to a carrier's place of business that specifically identifies an alerted Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) and outlines possible consequences of continued safety problems. The warning letter provides instructions for accessing carrier safety data and measurement as well as a point-of-contact.
- Carrier Access to Safety Data and Measurement — Carriers have access to their measurement results (BASICs scores) as well as the inspection reports and violations that went into those results. With this information, carriers can chart a course of self-improvement. Carriers can also monitor this data for accuracy and request a data correction review as necessary through FMCSA's DataQs system.
- Targeted Roadside Inspection — CSA provides roadside inspectors with data that identifies a carrier's specific safety problems by BASIC, based on the new measurement system. Targeted roadside inspections occur at permanent and temporary roadside inspection locations where connectivity to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) information is available. As Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) technologies evolve, they will be incorporated into the roadside inspections.
- Offsite Investigation — A carrier is required to submit documents to FMCSA or a State Partner. These documents are used to evaluate the safety problems identified through the SMS and to determine their root causes. Types of documents requested may include third-party documents such as toll receipts, border crossing records, or drug testing records. The goal is to identify issues responsible for poor safety performance. If the carrier does not submit requested documents, it may be subject to an onsite investigation or to subpoena records (see below).
- Onsite Focused Investigation — The purpose of this intervention is to evaluate the safety problems identified through the SMS and their root causes. An onsite focused investigation may be selected when deficiencies in one or two BASICs exist. Onsite focused investigations target specific problem areas (for example, maintenance records), while onsite comprehensive investigations address all aspects of the carrier's operation.
- Onsite Comprehensive Investigation — This intervention is similar to a CR and takes place at the carrier's place of business. It is used when the carrier exhibits broad and complex safety problems through continually alerted BASICs, worsening multiple BASICs (three or more), or a fatal crash or complaint.
- Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP) — Implemented by the carrier, this safety improvement plan is voluntary. The carrier and FMCSA collaboratively create a plan based on a standard template to address the underlying problems resulting from the carrier's substandard safety performance.
- Notice of Violation (NOV) — The NOV is a formal notice of safety alerts that requires a response from the carrier. It is used when the regulatory violations discovered are severe enough to warrant formal action but not a civil penalty (i.e., a fine). It is also used in cases where the violation is immediately correctable and the level of, or desire for, cooperation is high. To avoid further intervention, including fines, the carrier must provide evidence of corrective action or initiate a successful challenge to the violation.
- Notice of Claim (NOC) — An NOC is issued in cases where the regulatory violations are severe enough to warrant assessment and issuance of civil penalties.
- Operations Out-of-Service Order (OOS) — An OOS order is an order requiring the carrier to cease all motor vehicle operations
- How can commercial motor vehicle (CMV) carriers successfully navigate CSA? Back
- Check, update, and review your records:
- Ensure that your motor carrier census form (MCS-150) is up-to-date and accurate.
- Monitor and review your Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranks as well as inspection and crash data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal.
- Maintain copies of inspection reports and evidence related to any observed violations, and request review of any potentially incorrect data using DataQs.
- Ensure compliance:
- Review your inspection and violation history for the past two years. Identify patterns, trends, and areas needing improvement and begin to address these now.
- Examine your business processes to determine how they may be contributing to any safety compliance deficiencies.
- Take steps to increase your drivers’ awareness that inspections are more important than ever, that all violations count — not just out-of-service violations — and that their performance directly impacts their driving records and the safety assessment of their employing carrier.
- Visit the CSA Website:
- We regularly update materials on the CSA Website. There, you will find explanations, answers to questions, tips, and guidance.
- You can sign up for an email subscription or RSS feed to receive the most up-to-date information.
- You can also submit questions and review a full set of Frequently Asked Questions.
- Be sure to review the materials about SMS and the new BASICs; understanding the new SMS is an important step in preparing for CSA.
How can users access Safety Measurement System (SMS) data? Back
A. Users can view motor carriers' SMS data here. Part of the website is open to the public and requires no password. The open part of the website includes each motor carrier's Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranks for five of the seven BASICs: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Controlled Substances and Alcohol, Driver Fitness, and Vehicle Maintenance. The website also includes lists of crashes, roadside inspections, and violations resulting from roadside inspections.
When motor carriers sign in, they will be able to see additional data:
- Cargo-Related BASIC percentile rank
- Crash Indicator BASIC percentile rank
- Driver names and other privacy-related material from individual inspection results
Motor carriers can sign in via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal or directly through the SMS Website. From this SMS page, a carrier representative can log in with its US DOT Number and PIN number in order to access the carrier’s non public data. The carrier sign-in is at the bottom center of the screen. Once signed in, you will be guided back to the SMS Home Page. After that, in the search box in the middle right section of the screen, you should type in the USDOT# or MC # and hit search.
Motor carriers can request an FMCSA Portal account by clicking here and following the instructions to request an account. For additional assistance with an FMCSA Portal account, contact the help desk at 800-832-5660. To sign in via the SMS Website, you will need your USDOT Number and PIN. Note that a Docket Number PIN will not enable you to see your SMS data. If you cannot locate your PIN or were never assigned one, complete the PIN registration process. A notification letter with your PIN will be generated and mailed to the address that was submitted on your most recent MCS-150 form. You should receive this letter within two weeks. Assistance with PIN issues can be obtained by calling the FMCSA help desk at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.
Are drivers notified if they are identified with safety problems via the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS)? Back
A. No. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not, at this time, directly contact drivers with high DSMS percentile ranks; only motor carriers receive warning letters. DSMS is used only in conjunction with carrier investigations.
A driver could receive a Notice of Violation (NOV) or Notice of Claim (NOC) if the driver is found to have egregious violations during a carrier investigation. If a driver receives an NOV or NOC, FMCSA will contact the driver directly.
What determines “Unfit” in terms of process and score for motor carriers? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) uses the safety rating methodology as outlined in 49 CFR Part 385 and will continue to use this methodology until the rulemaking process is completed. Accordingly, following current procedures, a motor carrier will receive an Unsatisfactory safety rating following an onsite review if FMCSA determines that the carrier's safety management controls fail to meet the safety fitness standard outlined in 49 CFR Part 385.
In the proposed new methodology, how can an Unfit carrier return to service? Back
A. The process of a motor carrier getting back into service once it is determined Unfit is expected to remain the same as the current procedure. The biggest proposed change is that roadside data might be a factor in determining the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD). If a motor carrier were to receive a proposed Unfit determination, it would have 45 days (hazardous material/passenger carriers) or 60 days (all other carriers) to improve its SFD. Generally, this would be accomplished in one of three ways:
1.- Another investigation/compliance review
2.- A 385.15 appeal to the Chief Safety Officer if there are material errors with the information from either roadside data or interventions
3.- A 385.17 appeal to the Division Office if the motor carrier files evidence of corrective action.
Do inspections that find no violations count in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. Yes. All roadside safety inspection findings count in the SMS, regardless of whether or not the safety inspection report contains violations. Roughly one-third of the 3.5 million inspections that are uploaded to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) database each year have zero violations. Safety inspections without regulatory violations serve to improve a motor carrier's evaluation in the SMS.
Carriers and drivers should be aware that not every law enforcement stop is a safety inspection; law enforcement may stop a vehicle to conduct a pre-inspection screening to determine if a vehicle or driver warrants closer examination. A pre-inspection screening may take many forms and may include, but not necessarily be limited to, a cursory check of the vehicle. These cursory checks are commonly confused with a complete safety inspection. If a law enforcement officer conducts only a pre-inspection screening, then a safety inspection report will not be generated. If a driver feels that a safety inspection has been conducted, FMCSA encourages the driver or motor carrier to ask for a copy of the report to document the safety inspection.
What information is available to help me achieve compliance? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's “A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety” is designed to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Vertical Alliance Group has built a Carrier Learning Management System that follows the suggested training in the FMCSA guide. Does your company need a driver online training, tracking and testing LMS to help provide a safe reliable driver training platform?
How long does a carrier remain in the CSA intervention process? Back
A. Generally speaking, a motor carrier remains in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) intervention process until the carrier no longer has alerted BASICs. In the event that a carrier's BASICs percentile ranks fall below the threshold during an investigation or other intervention, the agency will complete its work
What is a Cooperative Safety Plan (CSP)? Are motor carriers required to develop a CSP? Back
A. The CSP is a structured plan for safety improvements based upon the underlying factors causing the carrier's safety alerts. It is a voluntary plan on the part of the carrier to improve the carrier's safety performance. A carrier may submit a handwritten or an electronic version of their CSP.
What is the difference between compliance reviews and CSA interventions? Back
A. There are five important differences between Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) interventions and FMCSA's former compliance reviews :
- CSA provides a set of tools to address carriers' safety breakdowns; the CR is a one-size-fits-all tool.
- CSA interventions provide the ability to focus on specific safety breakdowns, while the CR required a broad examination of the carrier.
- CSA interventions focus on improving behaviors that are linked to crash risk; CR is focused on broad compliance based on a set of acute/critical violations.
- CSA onsite focused investigations and offsite investigations are less resource-intensive and less time consuming for the carrier; CRs are resource intensive.
- CSA investigations may take place at a carrier's place of business or offsite; CRs are generally conducted onsite
What regulation changes does CSA bring? Back
A. For the most part, Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) does not change Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs); rather, CSA changes how the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates in enforcing the current FMCSRs. In the future, FMCSA will consider a new methodology for determining the safety fitness of motor carriers, what is currently accomplished through the safety rating process described in Appendix B of 49 CFR Part 385. Such potential changes will be carried out through formal notice and comment rulemaking. In the future, FMCSA will consider a new methodology for determining safety fitness. Such potential changes will be carried out through notice and comment rulemaking procedures.
How do I determine if a violation will count against a carrier, a driver, or both in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. The SMS uses all safety-based violations recorded during roadside inspections to evaluate safety. A list of these violations can be found in Appendix A of the SMS Methodology document. All of the violations in Appendix A count against the motor carrier. A subset of these violations is applied to evaluate driver safety in cases where the commercial motor vehicle driver is also responsible in part for the occurrence. This subset of violations is noted in the “Driver Responsible" column in Appendix A of the SMS Methodology document.
What's the difference between SafeStat and the new Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. The SMS quantifies the on-road safety performance of motor carriers to identify candidates for interventions and to monitor whether compliance problems are improving or worsening. The SMS also uses investigation findings and provides alerts within each of seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) where a serious violation has been discovered. The SMS has replaced the SafeStat measurement system as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's tool to prioritize motor carriers for potential intervention.
The differences between the two systems are shown in the table below:
|Organized by seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)
||Organized in four broad categories known as Safety Evaluation Areas (SEA)|
|Identifies safety problems to determine whom to investigate and where to focus the investigation
||Identified motor carriers for a compliance review|
|Emphasizes on-road safety performance using all safety-based inspection violations
||Originated from roadside inspections and used only out-of-service and moving violations|
|Violations are weighted based on relationship to crash risk
||Violations not weighted based on relationship to crash risk|
|SMS will eventually be used to propose adverse safety fitness determination based on a carrier's own data
||SafeStat has no impact on an entity's safety fitness rating|
|SMS provides a tool that allows investigators to identify drivers with safety problems during carrier investigations.
||SafeStat does not provide a tool that allows investigators to identify drivers with safety problems during carrier investigations.|
How can motor carriers, drivers, and other stakeholders correct erroneous data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. If you feel that any of the data in SMS is erroneous, you can request a data correction review through the DataQs system, an electronic means of filing concerns about Federal and State data released to the public by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Any user, including motor carriers, drivers, and the general public, can submit a request for a data correction review using the DataQs system. You can register for DataQs via the FMCSA Portal or through the DataQs system directly.
Requests for data corrections require simple forms to be filled in with information from the relevant report, such as the report number, date and time of event, state, and an explanation for why the data should be changed. Documentation to support the Request for Data Correction Review (RDR) may also be submitted to the system. All information is routed to the organization responsible for the data. Electronic correspondence is used to communicate with the requestor when additional information is needed. DataQs is open to the public and the website provides an online help function to walk users through the process.
Please Note: Carrier registration information (e.g., name, address, or power unit data) can be modified by updating the MCS-150 form.
If the citation I acquired while in my commercial motor vehicle is thrown out in court, can I get the roadside inspection violation that resulted from the same behavior from the same incident removed from my Safety Measurement System (SMS) record? If so, how? Back
A. Reviews of violations that are adjudicated in the State court systems do not automatically result in a change to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-released data. In order to have a violation removed from the SMS record, a motor carrier or driver must file a request for data correction review in the DataQs system. When a request for data correction review is made through the DataQs system and the request is granted, the organization responsible for the data makes the appropriate changes. The record is then updated in the SMS during the next monthly run of the measurement system. However, users may only use the DataQs system to request a data review on data used by FMCSA.
Does Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) assign safety ratings to individual commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers? Back
A. No. Under CSA, individual CMV drivers are not assigned safety ratings or Safety Fitness Determinations (SFDs). Consistent with previously existing safety rating regulations (Part 385), individual drivers who operate independently as a "motor carrier" (i.e., have their own USDOT Number, operating authority, and insurance) will continue to be rated as a motor carrier following an onsite investigation at their place of business. CSA provides enhanced tools for Safety Investigators (SIs) to identify drivers with safety performance problems during motor carrier investigations. As a result, motor carriers and drivers have the opportunity to correct the specific safety performance problems.
CSA is designed to meet one overriding objective: to increase safety on the nation's roads. Therefore, it is, by design, a positive system for drivers and carriers with strong safety performance records. Also, it will send a strong message that drivers and carriers with poor safety performance histories need to improve.
How will the proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) handle reportable crashes? Back
A. In the short term, our proposed rule on SFD will propose that a carrier’s formal safety rating (i.e. the replacement for the traditional Unsatisfactory, Conditional, or Satisfactory rating process) would only be adversely affected by crashes where the carrier is at least partly at fault. These are known as preventable accidents. A Safety Investigator (SI) would determine which crashes are preventable.
Do tickets or warnings received by drivers while operating personal vehicles impact their motor carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) data or their Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record? Back
A. No. Tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal vehicles are State citations and do not count in SMS or PSP. SMS and PSP use only violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), and those regulations apply only to people driving commercial motor vehicles. In measuring on-road safety performance, SMS and PSP use all safety-based violations documented at roadside inspections, as well as State-reported crashes.
Why is there no driver rating? Why aren't drivers more accountable? Back
A. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not use the Safety Measurement System (SMS) or any other system to assign formal safety ratings to individual drivers, the agency recognizes that holding drivers accountable for safe driving behavior is an important part of the safety compliance and enforcement process. Safety Investigators (SIs) always systematically investigate drivers with egregious violations when investigating a motor carrier. Additionally, SIs use the Driver Safety Measurement System, an internal safety assessment tool, to review drivers with strong patterns of noncompliance. Any violations that are not corrected may result in a Notice of Violation or Notice of Claim for the driver.
How long do I have to get into compliance? Back
A. There is no grace period for achieving compliance with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). However, carriers should know that their safety performance in SMS is based upon the previous 24 months of on-road performance and crash data. Understanding the regulations and ensuring vehicles and drivers are safe today will help keep carriers off of FMCSA's expanding radar tomorrow.
What triggers an intervention? Back
A. Interventions are selected based on the following factors: Number of Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) percentiles above the threshold (Note: a high BASIC percentile indicates high noncompliance), BASICs alerted due to serious violations, commodity hauled (e.g., passengers, hazardous material), intervention history, and time since last intervention. A complaint or fatal crash could also trigger an investigation.
The Intervention Thresholds for carriers are organized by BASIC and are set based on the BASIC's relationship to crash risk. Analysis conducted by FMCSA has shown that the strongest relationship to crash risk is found with high percentiles in the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving, and Crash Indicator BASICs. Therefore, these higher risk BASICs have a lower percentile threshold for interventions than the other BASICs. Currently, the Intervention Thresholds are as follows:
|Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service ), Crash Indicator
|Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related
Can you explain the research behind the Safety Measurement System (SMS) violation severity weightings? Back
A. First, applicable safety-based violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations were classified into the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). Next, within each BASIC, similar violations were grouped together. For example, the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC has tire and brake groupings, among others. Within each BASIC, the violation groups were assigned severity weights that reflect the violation group's association with crash occurrence and crash consequences. The stronger the relationship between a violation group and crash risk, the higher its assigned weight.
The violation severity weights have been converted into a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the lowest crash risk and 10 represents the highest crash risk relative to the other violations in the BASIC. Since the weights reflect the relative importance of each violation within each particular BASIC, they cannot be compared meaningfully across the various BASICs. In other words, a rating of 5 in one BASIC is not equivalent to a rating of 5 in another BASIC, but it does represent the midpoint between a crash risk of 1 and 10 within the same BASIC. This data is summarized in Appendix A1 of the SMS Methodology and the SMS Methodology document in MS Excel format.
These weights are based on a number of studies that quantify the associations between violations and crash risk, as well as statistical analysis and input from enforcement subject matter experts and feedback from the motor carrier industry. Subject matter experts from FMCSA's field staff, including enforcement personnel and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) development team members, examined these severity weights during the Operational Model Test and submitted recommendations to the agency to better associate crash risk to the violations.
What is the timeline for the implementation of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? BackApril 12 - November 30, 2010 — Motor carriers can preview their own data by seeing their roadside inspections/violations and crash events organized by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). Summer 2010 June 30 — The Op-Model Test ends.
A. February 2008 — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launches a partial appspancation of the CSA Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test) in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey.
2009 — Five additional States join the CSA Op-Model Test group: Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, and Montana.
July 2010 The four Test States partially applying the CSA Op-Model (Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, and New Jersey) fully switch over to CSA, bringing total CSA Test States to nine.
August 2010 The Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology is modified to increase its effectiveness.
Motor carriers can see an assessment of their violations based on the new motor carrier SMS, which replaces SafeStat later in 2010.
December 2010 SafeStat is replaced by the SMS. The SMS is available to the pubspanc, including shippers and insurance companies.
The Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology is modified to increase its effectiveness.
FMCSA/States prioritize enforcement using the SMS.
FMCSA begins to issue warning letters to carriers with alerted BASICs.
Roadside inspectors use the SMS results to identify carriers for inspection.
2011 Safety Fitness Determination Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is scheduled to be released.
Enforcement staff will be trained and new interventions will be implemented State-by-State.
What is the CSA Operational Model? Back
A. The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Operational Model is the new way the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its State Partners implement commercial motor vehicle compliance and enforcement programs.
The CSA Operational Model has three major components:
- A new Safety Measurement System — CSA measures safety performance in new more comprehensive ways using inspection and crash results to identify carriers whose behaviors could reasonably lead to crashes.
- A new Intervention process — CSA helps FMCSA and its State Partners correct high-risk behavior by contacting more carriers and drivers with a comprehensive interventions process designed to more efficiently and effectively correct safety deficiencies by tailoring to the Safety Investigator's process to the carrier's specific safety problem(s).
- A Safety Ratings process — a proposed safety fitness determination methodology that is based on roadside performance and crash data..
Where can I find CSA training? Back
A. There are a number of commercial suppliers that provide this service. Vertical Alliance Group has built a Learning Management System (LMS) specific to the trucking industry that can be utilized in all areas with the company.
Can you explain how safety event groups work in the new Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. One of the ways the SMS accounts for the differences between motor carriers and their operations is to place carriers in safety event groups based on the number of safety events (e.g., inspections, crashes) in which the carriers have been involved. However, FMCSA's foremost concern is safety and it accomplishes this by addressing the carriers that pose the greatest crash risk, irrespective of their industry segment.
Safety event groups enable the SMS to deal with the widely diverse motor carrier population, while ensuring that similarly situated carriers are treated with the same standards. Safety event groups do not compare carriers by the commodities they haul or their industry segment.
The tables below outline the safety event groups for each of the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and can be found in the SMS Methodology document.
Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Vehicle Maintenance, and Cargo-Related BASICs
|Safety Event Group Category
||Number of Relevant Inspections*|
5-10 (Fitness, Vehicle, Cargo)
*A relevant inspection is one where the roadside inspector reviewed a particular area for evidence of violations (not all inspection types/levels look at all areas).
Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC
|Safety Event Group Category
||Number of Inspections with Controlled Substances /Alcohol Violations|
The Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs divide the safety event groups further into two additional categories: combo and straight segments. The following is used under the SMS to determine the carrier's segment:
- "Combo" – combination trucks/motor coach buses constituting 70 percent or more of the total Power Units (PUs).
- "Straight" – straight trucks/other vehicles constituting more than 30 percent of the total PU.
Unsafe Driving BASIC
|Safety Event Group Category
Number of Inspections with Unsafe Driving Violations
Number of Inspections with Unsafe Driving Violations
Crash Indicator BASIC
|Safety Event Group Category
||Combo Segment: Number of Crashes
||Straight Segment: Number of Crashes|
The Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology document states that a carrier can receive no more than 30 severity points in a single inspection. If a carrier has more than 30 severity points, which points are carried over to SMS? Back
A. This statement is not entirely correct. The SMS Methodology document states that the sum of all severity weights yielded by any one inspection for violations in any one Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) is capped at a maximum of 30. The inspection cap of 30 applies to the sum of violation severity weights within a BASIC, not summed across all BASICs. This rule prevents one bad inspection from overwhelming the evaluation of a particular BASIC and allows SMS to assess a motor carrier's safety across several inspections.
What are the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)? Which violations correspond to which BASIC? Back
A. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) is organized into seven BASICs, which represent behaviors that can lead to crashes. The BASICs were developed based on information from a number of studies that quantify the associations between violations and crash risk, as well as statistical analysis and input from enforcement subject matter experts.
The BASICs are defined as follows:
- Unsafe Driving BASIC—Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations: speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 397)
- Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) BASIC—Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. Example violations: exceeding HOS, maintaining an incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
- Driver Fitness BASIC—Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations: failing to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver's license and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
- Controlled Substances and Alcohol BASIC—Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations: use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
- Vehicle Maintenance BASIC—Failure to properly maintain a CMV. Example violations: brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, and failure to make required repairs. (FMCSR Parts 393 and 396)
- Cargo-Related BASIC—Failure to properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and unsafe handling of hazardous materials on a CMV. Example violations: improper load securement, cargo retention, and hazardous material handling. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393, 397 and applicable DOT HM regulations)
- Crash Indicator BASIC—SMS evaluates a motor carrier's crash history. Crash history is not specifically a behavior. Rather, it is a consequence of a behavior and may indicate a problem with the motor carrier that warrants intervention. It is based on information from State-reported crash reports and histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity.
For more detailed descriptions on the BASICs, visit BASICs Website. The details on which violations correspond to each BASIC can be found in the SMS Methodology document in Appendix A, starting on page A-4.
Do citations play a role in the Safety Measurement System (SMS), or carrier Inspection Selection System (ISS) algorithm? For example, if a driver has a violation for a torn strap and receives a citation, does the citation add anything to the carrier's SMS percentile ranks or ISS values? Back
A. Citations and the Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) are handled by State government. FMCSA is part of the Federal government. The Federal and State government use different data. Citations can influence the CDL but do not influence the SMS percentile ranks or ISS values. Those evaluation systems are influenced by violations as recorded on roadside inspections and crashes. To see which violations influence which BASICs, refer to Appendix A in the SMS Methodology document.
What is a "clean inspection"? Back
A. A “clean inspection” results when a relevant roadside inspection resulted in no violations for a particular Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). Safety inspections with no violations can improve a carrier's SMS evaluation. For example, when a carrier has no BASIC violations related to the Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, and/or Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASICs from a Driver Inspection (Level I, II, III or VI), this clean inspection will lower the associated BASIC measure. Similarly, when a carrier has no BASIC violations related to the Vehicle Maintenance and/or Cargo-Related BASICs from a Vehicle Inspection (Level I, II, V or VI), this clean inspection will lower the associated BASIC measure. Roughly one-third of the 3.5 million inspections that are uploaded each year have zero violations.
How will the proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) handle reportable crashes? Back
A. In the short-term, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's proposed rule on Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) will propose that a motor carrier's formal safety rating (i.e., the replacement for the traditional Unsatisfactory, Conditional, or Satisfactory rating process) would be adversely affected by crashes only when the motor carrier is at least partly at fault. These are known as “preventable accidents.” A Safety Investigator (SI) would determine which crashes are preventable.
What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) doing in the short-term about crash accountability? Back
A. The plan is to exclude the Crash Indicator BASIC percentile ranking from public websites because FMCSA understands that some crashes are unpreventable on the part of the motor carrier. This is consistent with the agency’s decision not to display the Accident SEA of SafeStat on public websites in recent years.
How can one of my BASICs move into alert status? Back
A. There are two ways a motor carrier can receive an alert in a BASIC. First, the SMS analyzes a carrier’s on road safety performance based on the new SMS methodology and that analysis results in a percentile for each BASIC. If the percentile is over the established intervention threshold, the BASIC is at alert and the percentile is presented within an orange outline and displayed in the On-Road column of the SMS.
Second, if a serious violation was cited as the result of a carrier investigation within the past 12 months, the BASIC is at alert and the Investigation column displays the “Serious Violation Found” icon. The alert icon will remain present for 12 months regardless of whether corrective actions have occurred
Why does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program emphasize driver safety enforcement? Back
A. Studies have shown that unsafe driver behavior, both on the part of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and other drivers, is a major contributor to CMV-related crashes. Some studies indicate that a small segment of the CMV driver population is involved in a disproportionately large number of crashes. As a result, FMCSA expanded its approach to identifying and addressing unsafe drivers during interventions with motor carriers.
How will drivers, motor carriers, and the public be notified about driver Notice of Violations (NOVs) and Notice of Claims (NOCs)? Back
A. Drivers will be notified by mail and may be contacted by a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) investigator. Motor carriers and the public, however, are not informed about driver NOVs or NOCs
What is the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) and how is it used? Back
A. The DSMS is a component of the overall Safety Measurement System (SMS). The DSMS is a tool that enables law enforcement personnel to assess individual drivers in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) using 36 months of roadside performance data across employers. At this time, FMCSA does not use this system to assign formal safety ratings or Safety Fitness Determinations (SFDs) to individual drivers. FMCSA does not remove any drivers from their job; only the State can do that. DSMS does not impact a driver's commercial driver's license (CDL). Neither drivers nor employing motor carriers have access to the DSMS. FMCSA does not address drivers the same way it addresses carriers today, nor will it under CSA. While carriers are prioritized for intervention based on the SMS, drivers are only investigated during a carrier investigation. Therefore, no Intervention Thresholds are in place for drivers.
Which violations from crashes are used in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. Only pre-existing violations from post-crash inspections are used in the SMS. Violations recorded in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) as being attributed to the crash are not used.
How have roadside inspections been improved, including getting States to upload their inspections faster? Back
A. Inspection and crash data that are collected and reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must meet high standards of uniformity, completeness, accuracy, and timeliness. FMCSA has made significant strides to improve the data quality of crash and inspection data by developing a comprehensive program that includes raising the awareness of the these standards, developing a means to measure State safety data quality, and working directly with States through either a State onsite review process or direct technical assistance to improve the quality of State safety data.
Do roadside inspections completed in states not in the Operational Model test affect the CSA 2010 safety ratings of carriers from Operational Model test states? Back
A. Current roadside inspections impact the CSA 2010 Operational Model test, even if activity is reported through a non-participating state. Roadside inspection findings for test group motor carriers will impact that carrier’s Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) scores whenever and wherever they are performed.
I'm having problems signing in to see my data. What should I do? Back
A. Motor carriers need a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-issued USDOT Number and a USDOT Number Personal Identification Number (PIN) (not a Docket Number PIN) to access the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website. If you are experiencing difficulties, please review the information below before contacting the SMS Web team for assistance.
- If you don't have a USDOT Number:
You cannot access the password-protected part of SMS.
- If you are a driver looking to see your own data:
Driver data is not available through the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. To obtain a copy of your inspection/crash history, visit the Pre-Employment Screening Program.
- If you do not have a PIN Number or don't know what it is:
You can request a USDOT PIN Number here and select “Click here to request your Docket Number PIN and/or USDOT Number PIN.” Be sure to request a USDOT Number PIN, not a Docket Number PIN. You can also call 800-832-5660 for assistance.
- If you have a PIN Number but it doesn't work:
- Make sure you are using your USDOT PIN Number and not your Docket PIN Number. Only the USDOT PIN Number will work on the SMS Website.
- Verify that you are typing in your PIN Number correctly. Often, the problem is a typo or a misreading of one or more characters. For example, users sometimes mistake the letter “O” for the number “0” or the letter “l” for the number “1,” etc. Try all possible combinations before going to the next step.
- Ensure that no one else in your company has changed your PIN Number by requesting a new one.
- If the above options fail, request a new USDOT PIN Number and select “Click here to request your Docket Number PIN and/or USDOT Number PIN.” Be sure to request a USDOT Number PIN, not a Docket Number PIN.
- If you need additional PIN assistance:
Assistance with USDOT Number PIN issues can be obtained by calling FMCSA technical support at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.
What are the Intervention Thresholds for drivers? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not address drivers the same way that it addresses motor carriers. While motor carriers are prioritized for intervention based on the Safety Measurement System, drivers are only investigated during a carrier investigation. Therefore, no Intervention Thresholds are in place for drivers.
If my Safety Measurement System Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) percentile ranks go up, what will happen? Back
A. Higher percentile ranks could cause a motor carrier to enter, or remain, in the pool of carriers with alerted BASICs if the percentile ranks pass the Intervention Thresholds. Carriers with percentiles above a certain Intervention Threshold and meeting minimum data sufficiency requirements in a BASIC can be deemed poor safety performers. These carriers will be identified for Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) interventions. Increased percentiles may make a carrier subject to more severe interventions.
Will motor carriers and drivers with minor problems be subject to interventions? Back
A. In the majority of situations, if a motor carrier is experiencing a minor problem that does not result in an alerted Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) score, the motor carrier will not receive an intervention. The interventions in CSA are designed to assist motor carriers and drivers in improving their safety performance. Under the CSA Operational Model, motor carriers will receive an intervention when their roadside inspection and crash data point to poor performance in a key BASIC.
Preliminary University of Michigan Transportation Institute (UMTRI) findings from the Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test) indicated that two of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) do not have a strong relationship to future crashes. Should these findings delay implementation of CSA? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) 30-month Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Op-Model Test has drawn keen interest from the trucking industry, including trade publications. Recently, one of these publications reported preliminary findings provided by FMCSA's independent evaluator, UMTRI, that indicate that while the majority of the BASICs have a strong relationship to future crashes, two of the seven — Driver Fitness and Cargo-Related — do not. The question was raised whether these findings would delay implementation.
In the interest of safety, and based on promising Op-Model Test results, FMCSA's implementation of CSA will continue according to its published schedule.
CSA's Safety Measurement System (SMS) was designed to 1.) Identify high-risk motor carriers (those that have a greater propensity to be involved in future crashes) for priority intervention, and 2.) Identify motor carriers with patterns of on-road performance and compliance issues for intervention. SMS does both very well.
With respect to identifying high-risk carriers, FMCSA effectiveness testing results demonstrate that those carriers that SMS identifies as high-risk have much higher future crash rates than those carriers not designated as high-risk. Additionally, the effectiveness testing shows that SMS identifies a group of carriers with higher crash risk better than did the former system, SafeStat.
SMS clearly identifies motor carriers with compliance issues as well, regardless of whether effectiveness testing links those compliance issues to future crash risk. Congress has been clear that FMCSA is a compliance and enforcement agency. While the effectiveness testing may not establish a relationship with future crashes in the Driver Fitness and Cargo-Related BASICs, FMCSA and industry have an obligation to ensure compliance with the regulations that contribute to these two BASICs. These two BASICs include being properly licensed, carrying medical cards verifying that a driver meets the medical qualification standards, adequately securing cargo, and properly packaging and handling hazardous materials.
UMTRI's preliminary findings correspond with FMCSA's effectiveness findings in terms of future crash risk. However, in response to UMTRI's findings, FMCSA has adjusted how it identifies carriers for investigation so that the BASICs that have the strongest relationship to future crashes receive the most emphasis. In this way, FMCSA addresses those carriers with the highest propensity for future crashes as well as those with the strongest patterns of noncompliance.
What are the results of the Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test)? Back
A. The Op-Model Test was formally evaluated by a third party — the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) — and the report is forthcoming. The evaluation compares the test group to the control group in the four original Test States and examines the impact of the program on the five additional CSA Test States.
Early feedback from enforcement staff using the Safety Measurement System (SMS) and conducting new interventions was positive. Preliminary results from the Op-Model Test suggested that CSA offers a more efficient, effective means of identifying and intervening with motor carriers that have demonstrated safety performance issues. In particular, the Op-Model Test demonstrated the following:
- CSA enables enforcement staff to investigate more carriers with safety deficiencies using the same number of resources.
- The warning letter is encouraging carriers to recognize and address their safety deficiencies earlier, and carriers are responding.
- CSA is having a positive impact on motor carrier performance in behavior areas significantly related to crash risk, particularly Unsafe Driving and Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service).
- SMS offers a better assessment of carrier safety performance and a more effective means of identifying motor carriers that pose a high crash-risk.
Can someone from FMCSA speak on CSA at our organization? Back
A. To request a speaker to address Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) at your organization, contact your State Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) branch. You can also make speaker requests via the CSA feedback system, which will add your request for a CSA speaker to a list of similar requests. If and when CSA speakers become available, the agency will contact you
Why is CSA being implemented? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) mission is to improve safety by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Over the past few years, the rate of crash reduction has slowed, prompting FMCSA to take a fresh look at how the agency evaluates the safety of motor carriers and drivers and explore ways to improve its safety monitoring, evaluation, and intervention processes. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is the result of this comprehensive examination. CSA enables FMCSA and its State Partners to assess the safety performance of a greater segment of the industry and intervene with more carriers to change unsafe behavior early.
What is CSA? Back
A. Originally, CSA stood for “Comprehensive Safety Analysis.” However, as national implementation of CSA rolled out in December 2010, FMCSA transitioned the program, dropping the “2010” and renaming the initiative “Compliance, Safety, Accountability.”
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) is a new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety program to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles. It introduces a new enforcement and compliance model that allows FMCSA and its State Partners to contact a larger number of carriers earlier in order to address safety deficiencies before crashes occur. Rolled out in December 2010, the program establishes a new nationwide system for making the roads safer for motor carriers and the public alike!
How is FMCSA addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations? Back
A. Results from the Operational Model Test have demonstrated the difficulties of enforcing size and weight violations through Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) interventions conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and State Safety Investigators (SIs). Alternative methods to address this safety issue are currently under development. These methods include more refined collection of detailed size and weight violation data and alerts in systems used by roadside inspectors to identify carriers with patterns of prior size and weight violations. In the meantime, size and weight violations have been removed from the Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). However, it is important to note that roadside inspectors will continue to cite these violations at the roadside and SIs will continue to address these violations, including implementing potential enforcement actions if appropriate, through investigations.
What modifications are being made to the measure of exposure for the Unsafe Driving BASIC and Crash Indicator? Back
A. Analysis conducted by FMCSA showed measuring exposure solely by Power Units (PUs) may overly identify as in alert status those carriers with high utilization rates (i.e. those carriers with greater than the national average per PU rate). Analysis also indicated that the sole use of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as the measure of exposure overly identified those carriers with low utilization rates as in alert statusd. As a result, the agency created a new approach to measure carriers' exposure on the road within the Unsafe Driving BASIC and the Crash Indicator using a combination of PUs and, when available and reliable, VMT data. The agency is also exploring options to enhance the reliability of VMT data for future use, including potential cross checks against State databases that include VMT and enforcement action against motor carriers that report erroneous data. Additionally, the carrier population is now segmented into two groups based on the type of vehicle (combination and straight) operated so that companies operating different types of vehicles are no longer compared to each other.
What refinements were made to the SMS Methodology after the Operational Model Test in August 2010? Back
A. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) uses seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to assess motor carriers' safety. The BASICs are: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Crash Indicator.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has identified four opportunities to improve the SMS Methodology:
- Modifications to the measure of exposure for the Unsafe Driving BASIC and Crash Indicator
- Refinements to the measurement approach for the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC
- Updates to the severity weights of roadside violations based on Subject Matter Expert review
- A more strategic approach to addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations, which affects the Cargo-Related BASIC
Why has FMCSA decided to update the SMS test methodology? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a 30-month Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test) in nine states to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the new Safety Measurement System (SMS). By design, the Op-Model Test included continual assessment of results and solicitation of stakeholder feedback, with an eye towards refinement prior to national launch. The Op-Model Test ended on June 30, 2010 and the SMS enhancements are a direct result of that process.
Will FMCSA place carriers into different peer groups or weight carriers' violations and crashes differently in different geographical areas? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not, at this time, plan to weight inspection and crash data on a regional basis. FMCSA is committed to realizing reasonable uniformity in state reporting and coding for inspections and crashes.
Which carriers are included in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all carriers throughout North America that haul loads over 10,000 lbs. and travel interstate. FMCSA also regulates carriers that haul hazardous materials intrastate. These are the carriers that are included in the SMS
How do I change my MCS-150 data, such as Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) or Power Units (PUs)? Back
A. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suggests that motor carriers update their MCS-150 every two years, motor carriers should understand that this is just the minimum requirement; motor carriers may update their MCS-150 form at any time. FMCSA encourages carriers to update their MCS-150 any time there is a change in their data. Since VMT and PU data are used in the Safety Measurement System (SMS), motor carriers should update their form at least once a year. Motor carriers can update their MCS-150 data by selecting: "I need to update my USDOT number registration information or file my biennial update" and following the instructions. For instructions on updating your MCS-150 form, visit the MCS Instructions.
The SMS updates monthly. MCS-150 changes will not show up immediately in the SMS, but likely will show up the following month. However, MCS-150 updates should show up more quickly on SAFER.
The carrier I work for is behaving illegally. How should I handle this? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a complaint system set up to deal with carriers that are behaving illegally. To submit complaints, visit the National Consumer Complaint Database.
What if a motor carrier has an inactive USDOT Number? Back
A. Assistance with an inactive USDOT Number can be obtained by calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Information Line at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.
Who can help me answer non-CSA FMCSA questions? Back
A. Most Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) questions that are unrelated to Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) can be answered either by FMCSA Headquarters at 1-800-832-5660 or by State FMCSA field offices.
How do I sign up for the Portal? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal allows users to register using their USDOT Number and USDOT PIN Number. For questions about the Portal, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-832-5660.
When will CSA start using the driver component of the new Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A. The driver assessment tool is being used internally. FMCSA uses the driver assessment tool only to assist investigative staff in focusing on poor performing drivers during carrier investigations.
Are there new regulations regarding a driver's body mass index (BMI), body fat ratio, weight, neck size and sleep apnea? Back
A. Despite rumors to the contrary, no. While research was recently released stating that a driver's body mass index (BMI) is a risk factor for identifying sleep apnea, neither the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) nor the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program currently has any rules that restrict who can be a commercial motor vehicle driver based on BMI or weight, or neck size.
What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) doing in the long-term about crash accountability? Back
A. FMCSA is assessing the feasibility of evaluating crashes for accountability/preventability before they are used by the SMS in the Crash Indicator BASIC. This would allow FMCSA to better concentrate intervention efforts on motor carriers that have high preventable/accountable crash rates.
How do I improve my percentile ranks in the SMS BASICs? Back
A. Receiving new inspections that are of free of violations will improve a carrier’s percentile rank for Fatigued (Hours-Of-Service) Driving, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substance and Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, and Cargo-Related BASICs. Carriers should also review the "What a Motor Carrier can do to Improve" section of the information center. This section provides tips that may help carriers who want to improve their safety performance. Motor Carrier's can also incorporate a Learning Management System (LMS) to help educate and train their drivers is all safeety related issues.
What is CSA at the highest level? Back
A. FMCSA’s regulations remained the same after CSA implementation in December 2010, though CSA does change how FMCSA prioritizes carriers for enforcement and how it enforces compliance. Generally CSA affects carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce, but may also include carriers whose State requires that they obtain a U.S. DOT number. FMCSA has provided detailed answers to questions about the general applicability of the FMCSR. CSA will enact three major changes:
- There is a new Safety Measurement System (SMS) that gives a more comprehensive profile of carriers and drivers, better pinpoints the source(s) of safety problems, and more effectively identifies high crash-risk behavior. It is important that all FMCSA stakeholders understand the new SMS. To better understand how SMS works, read the SMS methodology, this flyer that compares SMS to SafeStat (i.e. the existing measurement system), and this SMS factsheet.
- There is a new interventions process as well as state-of-the-art tools that are more efficient and effective in the enforcement and compliance process. They institute a wider range of interventions to influence compliance earlier and match intervention to the corresponding level of safety performance. It is important that all FMCSA stakeholders understand this new intervention process. The interventions are outlined in this fact sheet.
- There is a proposed change to the Safety Fitness Determination (SFD). The proposed change will assess the safety performance of a larger segment of industry. Furthermore, it will be based on roadside performance and intervention results, and ratings will be updated more often in order to convey current safety conditions. Once the final rule is passed, it will be important for all FMCSA stakeholders to understand it. To read more on the new proposed SFD, refer to pages 53487-53488 of this rulemaking notice located on FMCSA's website.
Can a motor carrier or driver appeal a DataQs ruling? Back
A. No. There is no appeal process for DataQs rulings
Will the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Website add a web services feature? Back
A. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may add web services in 2011, but they do not exist now.
How does compliance help motor carriers' business? Back
A. Motor carriers that are not compliant may be subject to costly repairs, delays, and penalties, or may be ordered off the road entirely. The goal of FMCSA is no crashes but to give you some idea of the cost associated with a crash. This data is 6 years old so the cost is even higher in 2011. In 2005, there were 5,212 fatalities and 91,993 injuries from large truck crashes, and 335 fatalities and 14,283 injuries from bus crashes. The average cost of a large truck crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million per crash. A crash with injuries costs almost $200,000 per crash. The average cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per crash.
Do you have a safety consultant that you can recommend? Back
A. No. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not provide a list or otherwise recommend specific safety consultants.
Is it possible a carrier will receive an enforcement case? Back
A. CSA is as strong on enforcement as today's model. Notices of Claim (NOCs) are part of the CSA intervention process.
Can you mail out information to help educate carriers and drivers about CSA? Back
A. FMCSA does not have a budget for printing and mailing CSA material to the public. However, Vertical Alliance Group will send carriers and or drivers a free report on CSA.
What registration forms do carriers and drivers need to fill out for CSA? Back
A. No one needs to register for Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), nor is there any kind of mandatory training requirement. However, it is in commercial motor vehicle carriers’ and drivers’ best interests to be informed about CSA and what it means for them. FMCSA's CSA program impacts all carriers that are over 10,000 lbs. and travel interstate. CSA also impacts carriers that haul hazardous materials intrastate.
What kind of updates were made to the severity weights of roadside violations? Back
A. Severity weights are assigned to violations in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) based on a violation's relationship to crash risk. Subject matter experts from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's field staff, including enforcement personnel and Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) development team members, examined these severity weights and submitted recommendations to the agency to better associate crash risk to the violations. These recommendations have been incorporated into the SMS Methodology. More detailed information, including an updated list of violations and severity weights, was published on the CSA Website on August 16, 2010, in the SMS Methodology.
When will the Safety Measurement System (SMS) stop flagging a motor carrier? Back
A. The SMS will stop flagging motor carriers whose on-road safety performance is above the Intervention Threshold when their BASIC percentile ranks are below the Intervention Thresholds. This can happen in one of two ways: 1.) Improved performance is demonstrated by clean inspections at roadside; and/or 2.) Poor inspections count less as they age and eventually fall outside of the 24-month timeframe.
Motor carriers may still be flagged for an intervention for a year if they receive serious violations during an investigation or compliance review.
Are there any plans for notifications to be sent to drivers who are identified with safety deficiencies? Back
A. No. At present only carriers receive warning letters. FMCSA does not have plans at this time to directly contact drivers.
85.How are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile ranks calculated? Back
A. SMS evaluates the safety of individual motor carriers by considering all safety-based roadside inspection violations, not just out-of service violations, as well as State-reported crashes, using 24 months of performance data. SMS assesses motor carriers' safety performance in each of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances and Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Crash Indicator.
SMS calculates a measure for each BASIC by combining the time- and severity-weighted violations/crashes (more recent violations are weighted more heavily), normalized by exposure, which is a statistical calculation that allows SMS to make a fair comparison between carriers with different levels of activity (e.g. a hybrid of the number of Power Units per Vehicle Miles Traveled or the number of relevant inspections). Applying a similar approach to what was used in SafeStat, the SMS converts each carrier's BASIC measures into percentiles based on rank relative to carriers with similar safety event groupings (i.e., number of relevant inspections, number of inspections with violations, or number of crashes).
The SMS is updated monthly, taking a snapshot of data on the 3rd or 4th Friday of each month, and takes approximately 10 business days to process and validate the data before it is uploaded on the website. These dates are estimates and are subject to change; if there are problems with the validation, the process could take longer than expected.
Why does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) hold carriers responsible for drivers' errors, such as speeding? Back
A. Motor carriers are held accountable for driver errors because they are responsible for the job performance of those who work for them. This is a longstanding Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration position and is not unique to Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) or the new SMS.
What is the proposed approach for Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) and why was it not part of the Operational Model Test (Op-Model Test)? Back
A. The proposed Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) SFD was not part of the Op-Model Test as it will require a major rulemaking effort.
There are four important differences between the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's current safety rating process and the proposed CSA SFD, which are shown in the table below:
|New Proposed SFD
|Not exclusively tied to onsite investigations
||Only to be issued or revised via an onsite|
||Provides a snapshot of compliance only on the date of the most recent compliance review|
|Based on violations of all safety-based regulations
||Based only on critical and acute violations|
|Labels carriers under consideration as “Unfit,” “Marginal,” or “Continue to Operate”
||Labels carriers “Unsatisfactory,” “Conditional,” or “Satisfactory”|
Will roadside inspectors use the Inspection Selection System (ISS) to select carriers CSA ? Back
A. Yes, ISS will continue to exist under CSA. FMCSA is planning to have the CSA measurement system feed the ISS algorithm (ISS-D) instead of SafeStat.
Does CSA make Electronic On-Board Recorders (EOBRs) mandatory? Back
A. Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) does not mandate event/log recorders. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently issued a new rule about mandating EOBRs for truck and bus companies with serious Hours-of-Service violations.
How do I know if a crash will be used in my Safety Measurement System (SMS) data? Back
A. All FMCSA-reportable crashes are included in the Safety Measurement System (SMS). A crash is reported to FMCSA if it involves the following:
- Any truck having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 lbs. or a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) over 10,000 lbs. used on public highways; OR
- Any motor vehicle designed to transport more than eight people, including the driver; OR
- Any vehicle displaying a hazardous materials placard (regardless of weight). NOTE: This criterion assumes that an officer at a crash site may not be familiar with the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations (Specifically, 49 CFR Part 172). If an officer or associate is knowledgeable in those, any vehicle discovered to be transporting hazardous materials without a required placard should also be included.
- That vehicle is involved in a crash while operating on a roadway customarily open to the public, which results in any of the following:
- A fatality: any person(s) killed in or outside of any vehicle (truck, bus, car, etc.) involved in the crash or who dies within 30 days of the crash as a result of an injury sustained in the crash; OR
- An injury: any person(s) injured as a result of the crash who immediately receives medical treatment away from the crash scene; OR
- A tow away: any motor vehicle (truck, bus, car, etc.) disabled as a result of the crash and transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other vehicle.
The SMS considers a crash applicable based on crash reports provided by the States for each crash that meets the reportable crash standard during the past 36 months for drivers and 24 months for carriers
How have roadside inspections been improved for CSA in terms of uniformity? Back
A. Under Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA), the data collected at the roadside is more important than ever because it is used in the new Safety Measurement System to assess motor carriers' safety performance. Thus, inspection and crash data that are reported to FMCSA must meet high standards of uniformity, completeness, accuracy, and timeliness. FMCSA has organized its effort to improve data quality into four core initiatives:
- Train inspectors on how to make consistent documentation of roadside inspection and violation data.
- Standardize processes for reviewing data by providing procedural guidance on the management of the roadside data review process through the DataQs system.
- Increase awareness of high-level goals of the inspection program by communicating to inspectors about how good inspections can support a systematic enforcement program and informing industry about the differences between screenings and inspections.
- Create system to ensure that inspectors use a uniform inspection selection process.
Where can roadside inspection data be viewed? Back
A. Motor carriers can view an electronic duplicate of all of their inspections through the Safety Measurement System, FMCSA Portal, or SAFER. Motor carriers that want a physical copy of inspection reports must contact the State agency where the inspection occurred.
What are the inspection levels? Back
A. The North American Standard Driver/Vehicle Inspection Levels are explained on this FMCSA Webpage.
How do I find my Inspection Selection System (ISS) value? Back
A. ISS is no longer available to the public. A carrier can access its own ISS value on the Compass Portal and can register on the website using its DOT Number and USDOT PIN Number. For answers to questions about the Portal, contact email@example.com or call 1-800-832-5660.
Does CSA Impact Me? Back
A. FMCSA’s regulations remained the same after CSA implementation in December 2010, though CSA does change how FMCSA prioritizes carriers for enforcement and how it enforces compliance. Generally CSA affects carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce, but may also include carriers whose State requires that they obtain a U.S. DOT number.
Are carriers from Canada and Mexico impacted by CSA? Back
A. Generally CSA affects Mexico and Canada carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce.
Will FMCSA have an XML and/or flat file of all of the data in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
A.The SMS file with all carrier data will be available in two formats: XML or comma delimited text file.