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DSMS (Driver Safety Measurement System) Methodology

The DSMS is the second major component of the SMS, along with the CSMS. Law enforcement officials use the DSMS results to examine the safety performance of individual CMV drivers when conducting CSA investigations. Currently, the DSMS results are being used strictly as an investigative tool for law enforcement and are not available to carriers, drivers, or the public. However, the raw safety information from roadside inspections and crashes that feeds the DSMS is compiled by the same system that will provide CMV driver-based data to FMCSA‘s Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). This new program will allow motor carriers to access driver inspection and crash records electronically as a part of the hiring process.4

This section describes the algorithms used in the DSMS methodology and the computational logic used to calculate the driver measures and percentiles for each BASIC and the Crash Indicator for individual CMV drivers. BASICs that are evaluated similarly are described together.

  • Unsafe Driving BASIC and Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC
  • Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC and Driver Fitness BASIC
  • Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and Cargo-Related BASIC
  • Crash Indicator

4.1 Unsafe Driving BASIC and Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC Assessment

This section describes the measurement of the Unsafe Driving BASIC and the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC. The definition of each BASIC is as follows:M

  • Unsafe Driving BASIC—Operation of CMVs in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations: speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention.
  • Controlled Substances/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.

The DSMS assesses both the Unsafe Driving BASIC and Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC by using applicable violations recorded during roadside inspections to calculate a measure in each BASIC for individual drivers. These measures are used to generate percentile ranks that reflect drivers‘ safety postures relative to drivers with applicable violations.

Calculation of BASIC Measure

The BASIC measures for the Unsafe Driving and Controlled Substances/Alcohol

BASICs are calculated as the sum of severity and time weighted applicable violations as follows:

BASICMeasure Total of time and severity weighted applicable violations

In this equation, the terms are defined as follows:

Applicable Violation is defined as any violation recorded in any level roadside inspection that matches the FMCSR and HMR cites listed for Unsafe Driving (Table 1, Appendix A) and Controlled Substances/Alcohol (Table 4, Appendix A) during the past 36 months, and for which the CMV driver can be held responsible (Driver Responsible column, Table 1 and 2). In cases of multiple counts of the same violation, the DSMS only uses each violation cite once per inspection.

A Severity Weight from 1 (less severe) to 10 (most severe) is assigned to each applicable violation. See the Unsafe Driving Table and the Controlled Substance and Alcohol Table for the corresponding severity weights of each violation cite. The severity weighting of each violation cite accounts for the level of crash risk relative to the other violation cites used in the BASIC measurement. The sum of all severity weights yielded by any one inspection for violations in any one BASIC is capped at a maximum of 30.

A Time Weight of 1, 2 or 3 is assigned to each applicable violation based on how long ago a violation on the inspection was recorded. Violations recorded in the past 12 months receive a time weight of 3. Violations recorded between 12 and 24 months ago receive a time weight of 2. All violations recorded earlier (older than 24 months but within the past 36 months) receive a time weight of 1. This time weighting places more emphasis on recent violations relative to older violations

Time and Severity Weighted Violation is a violation‘s severity weight multiplied by its time weight.

Calculation of BASIC Percentile Rank

Based on the BASIC measures, the DSMS applies data sufficiency standards to assign a percentile rank to drivers who can then potentially be subjected to a CSA intervention. The calculation is as follows:

  • Determine the total number of inspections with at least one BASIC violation. Remove drivers with no BASIC violations.
  • Rank all the drivers‘ BASIC measures in ascending order. Transform the ranked values into percentiles from 0 (representing the lowest BASIC measure) to 100 (representing the highest BASIC measure). Then, assign the percentile values for that BASIC to each driver.

4.2 Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC and Driver Fitness BASIC Assessment

This section describes the measurement of the Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC and the Driver Fitness BASIC. The definition of each BASIC is as follows:

  • Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC—Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the Hours-Of-Service (HOS) regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations surrounding the complete and accurate recording of logbooks as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Instances related to the Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC are distinguished from incidents where unconsciousness or an inability to react is brought about by the use of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances. Example violations include: HOS, logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued.
  • 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: failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver's license and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV.

The DSMS assesses both the Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC and Driver Fitness BASIC using applicable violations recorded during roadside inspections to calculate a measure in each BASIC for individual drivers. These measures are used to generate percentile ranks that reflect drivers relative safety posture.

Calculation of BASIC Measure

The equation used for calculating the BASIC measure for Fatigued Driving (HOS) and Driver Fitness is as follows:

Basic Measure =

Total of time and severity weighted applicable violations
Total time weight of relevant inspections

In this equation, the terms are defined as follows:

Applicable Violation is defined as any violation recorded in any level roadside inspection that matches the FMCSR and HMR cites listed for Fatigued Driving (HOS) and Driver Fitness during the past 36 months, and for which the CMV driver can be held responsible (Driver Responsible column). In cases of multiple counts of the same violation, the DSMS only uses each violation cite once per inspection.

A Relevant Inspection is any Driver Inspection (Level 1, 2, 3 or 6), including those that do not result in a violation in the BASIC, or any other inspection resulting in applicable BASIC violation.

A Severity Weight is assigned to each applicable violation, with a value dependent on two parts: (i) the level of crash risk relative to the other violation cites used in the BASIC measurement, and (ii) whether or not the violation resulted in an OOS condition.

  • The level of crash risk is assigned to each applicable violation ranging from 1 (less severe) to 10 (most severe); see the Fatigued Driving (HOS) Table (Table 2, Appendix A) and the Driver Fitness Table (Table 3, Appendix A) for the corresponding severity weights of each violation cite.
  • An OOS weight of 2 is then added to the severity weight of OOS violations. In cases of multiple counts of the same violation, if any of the counts of the violation are OOS the OOS weight of 2 applies.

The sum of all severity weights yielded by any one inspection for violations in any one BASIC is capped at a maximum of 30. This cap of 30 is applied before the severity weights are multiplied by the time weight.

A Time Weight of 1, 2 or 3 is assigned to each applicable violation and each relevant inspection based on its age. Violations recorded in the past 12 months receive a time weight of 3. Violations recorded between 12 and 24 months ago receive a time weight of 2. All violations recorded earlier (older than 24 months but within the past 36 months) receive a time weight of 1. Using the exact same time weight scheme, time weights are assigned to each relevant inspection, regardless of whether or not an inspection yielded an applicable violation. This time weighting places more emphasis on results of recent inspections relative to older inspections.

Time and Severity Weighted Violation is a violation‘s severity weight multiplied by its time weight.

Calculation of BASIC Percentile Rank

Based on the BASIC measures, the DSMS applies data sufficiency standards to assign a percentile rank to drivers that can then potentially be subjected to a CSA intervention. The calculation is as follows:

  • A. Determine the total number of relevant inspections and number of inspections with at least one BASIC violation. Remove drivers with (1) less than three relevant inspections or (2) no inspections resulting in at least one BASIC violation. For the remaining drivers, place each driver into one of three groups based on the number of relevant inspections:

    Safety Event Group Category Number of Relevant Inspections
    1 3
    2 4-6
    3 7+
    Safety Event Group Categories for Fatigued Driving (HOS) and Driver Fitness BASICs

  • Within each group, rank all the drivers‘ BASIC measures in ascending order. Transform the ranked values into percentiles from 0 (representing the lowest BASIC measure) to 100 (representing the highest BASIC measure).

Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and Cargo-Related BASIC Assessment

This section describes the measurement of the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and the Cargo-Related BASIC. The definition of each BASIC is as follows:

  • Vehicle Maintenance BASIC— Failure to properly maintain a CMV. Example violations: brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, and failure to make required repairs that would be found in a pre-trip inspection.
  • 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.

The DSMS assesses both the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and the Cargo-Related BASIC using relevant violations recorded during roadside inspections to calculate a measure in each BASIC for individual drivers. These measures are used to generate percentile ranks that reflect drivers relative safety posture.

Calculation of BASIC Measure

The equation used for calculating the Vehicle Maintenance and Cargo-Related BASIC measures is as follows:

Basic Measure =

Total of time and severity weighted applicable violations
Total time weight of relevant inspections

In this equation, the terms are defined as follows:

Applicable Violation is as any violation recorded in any level roadside inspection that matches the FMCSR and HMR cites listed for Vehicle Maintenance (Table 5, Appendix A) and Cargo-Related (Table 6, Appendix A) BASICS during the past 36 months, and for which the CMV driver can be held responsible (=Driver Responsible‘ column, Table 5 and 6). In cases of multiple counts of the same violation, the DSMS only uses each violation cite once per inspection.

A Relevant Inspection is any Vehicle Inspection (Level 1, 2, 5 or 6), including those that do not result in a violation in the BASIC, or any other inspection resulting in applicable BASIC violation.

A Severity Weight is assigned to each applicable violation with a value dependent on two parts: (i) the level of crash risk relative to the other violation cites used in the BASIC measurement, and (ii) whether or not the violation resulted in an OOS condition.

  • The level of crash risk is assigned to each applicable violation ranging from 1 (less severe) to 10 (most severe); see the Vehicle Maintenance Table (Table 5, Appendix A) and the Cargo-Related (Table 6, Appendix A) BASICS for the corresponding severity weights of each violation cite.
  • An OOS weight of 2 is then added to the severity weight of OOS violations. In cases of multiple counts of the same violation, if any of the counts of the violation are OOS the OOS weight of 2 applies.

The sum of all severity weights yielded by any one inspection for violations in any one BASIC is capped at a maximum of 30. This cap of 30 is applied before the severity weights are multiplied by the time weight.

A Time Weight of 1, 2 or 3 is assigned to each applicable violation and each relevant inspection based on its age. Violations recorded in the past 12 months receive a time weight of 3. Violations recorded between 12 and 24 months ago receive a time weight of 2. All violations recorded earlier (older than 24 months but within the past 36 months) receive a time weight of 1. Using the exact same time weight scheme, time weights are assigned to each relevant inspection, regardless of whether or not an inspection yielded an applicable violation. This time weighting places more emphasis on results of recent inspections relative to older inspections.

Time and Severity Weighted Violation is a violation‘s severity weight multiplied by its time weight.

Calculation of BASIC Percentile Rank

Based on the BASIC measures, the DSMS applies data sufficiency standards to assign a percentile rank to drivers that can then potentially be subjected to a CSA intervention. The calculation is as follows:

Based on the BASIC measures, the DSMS applies data sufficiency standards to assign a percentile rank to drivers that can then potentially be subjected to a CSA intervention. The calculation is as follows:

  • Determine the total number of relevant vehicle inspections and the number of inspections with at least one BASIC violation. Remove drivers with (1) less than three relevant inspections or (2) no inspections resulting in at least one BASIC violation. For the remaining drivers, place each driver into one of three groups based on the number of relevant inspections:
    Safety Event Group Category Number of Relevant Inspections
    1 3
    2 4-6
    3 7+
    Safety Event Group Categories for Vehicle Maintenance and Cargo-Related BASICs

  • Within each group, rank all the drivers‘ BASIC measures in ascending order. Transform the ranked values into percentiles from 0 (representing the lowest BASIC measure) to 100 (representing the highest BASIC measure).

Crash Indicator Assessment

This section describes the measurement of the Crash Indicator. The definition of the Crash Indicator is as follows:

  • Crash Indicator—Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity, based on information from state-reported crash reports.

Although the BASICs are used to measure an entity‘s behaviors, the crash history utilized by the Crash Indicator is not specifically a behavior; rather, it is the consequence of behavior and may indicate a problem with the entity that warrants intervention.

The DSMS assesses the Crash Indicator using relevant state-reported crash data to calculate a measure of the indicator for individual drivers. This measure is used to generate percentile ranks that reflect drivers‘ relative crash posture.

Calculation of Crash Indicator Measure

The equation used for calculating the Crash Indicator measure is as follows:

Crash Indicator Measure = Total of time and severity weighted applicable crashes

In this equation, the terms are defined as follows:

Applicable Crash is based on crash reports provided by the states for each crash that meets the reportable crash standard during the past 36 months. A reportable crash is one that results in at least one fatality; one injury where the person injured is taken to a medical facility for immediate medical attention; or one vehicle having been towed from the scene (i.e. tow-away) as a result of disabling damage caused by the crash.

Crash Severity Weight places more weight on crashes with more severe consequences. For example, a crash involving an injury or fatality is weighted more heavily than a crash where only a tow-away occurred. A hazmat release also increases the weighting of a crash, as shown in Table below.

Crash Type Crash Severity Weight
Involves tow-away but no injury or fatality 1
Involves injury or fatality 2
Involves a hazmat release Crash Severity Weight (from above) + 1

Crash Severity Weights for Crash Indicator

A Time Weight of 1, 2 or 3 is assigned to each applicable crash based on the time elapsed since it occurred. Crashes that occurred in the past 12 months receive a time weight of 3. Crashes that occurred between 12 and 24 months ago receive a time weight of 2. All crashes that happened later (older than 24 months but within the past 36 months) receive a time weight of 1. This time weighting places more emphasis on recent crashes relative to older crashes.

Time and Severity Weighted Crash is a crash‘s severity weight multiplied by its time weight.

Calculation of Crash Indicator Percentile Rank

Based on the Crash Indicator measures, the DSMS applies data sufficiency standards and assigns a percentile rank to drivers who then can potentially receive a CSA intervention. The calculation is as follows:

  • Identify drivers with at least one applicable crash.
  • Rank all the drivers‘ Crash Indicator measures in ascending order. Transform the ranked values into percentiles from 0 (representing the lowest indicator measure) to 100 (representing the highest indicator measure). Then, assign the percentile values to each driver.

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