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CSA Driver Safety Measurement System Frequently Asked Questions!

  1. Are drivers notified if they are identified with safety problems via the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS)? Back
    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.

  2. Describe the serious driver violations that are sometimes called Red Flag Violations. Back
    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.

    BASIC FMCSR Part Violation Description
    Driver Fitness 383.21 Operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) with more than one driver's license
    Driver Fitness 383.23(a)(2) Operating a CMV without a valid commercial driver's license (>CDL)
    Driver Fitness 383.51(a) Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified
    Driver Fitness 383.91(a) Operating a CMV with improper CDL group
    Driver Fitness 391.11 Unqualified driver
    Driver Fitness 391.11(b)(5) Driver lacking valid license for type vehicle being operated
    Driver Fitness 391.11(b)(7) Driver disqualified from operating CMV
    Driver Fitness 391.15(a) Driving a CMV while disqualified
    Controlled Substances/Alcohol 392.4(a) Driver uses or is in possession of drugs
    Controlled Substances/Alcohol 392.5(a) Possession/use/under influence of alcohol less than 4 hours prior to duty
    Fatigued Driving (HOS) 395.13(d) Driving after being declared out-of-service (OOS)
    Vehicle Maintenance 396.9(c)(2) 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).

  3. What is the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) and how is it used? Back
    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.

  4. How do I determine if a violation will count against a carrier, a driver, or both in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
    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.

    The driver safety assessment tool in the SMS, at present, is only used by enforcement personnel who are conducting motor carrier investigations. The new tool enables Safety Investigators to focus on drivers with poor safety performance histories when they are investigating a motor carrier.

  5. How does a driver's violation history impact a carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) evaluation? Back
    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.

  6. When I add up the total of my driver, vehicle, and hazmat inspections, why don't they equal my total inspection count in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
    The SMS categorizes inspections into three types: driver, vehicle, and hazmat inspections. The driver inspection examines driver issues and is associated with the following Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, and Controlled Substances/Alcohol. The vehicle inspection relates to the following two BASICs: Vehicle Maintenance and Cargo-Related. Hazmat inspections could impact any of the BASICs. During a roadside inspection, a truck can receive a driver inspection, vehicle inspection, and/or a hazmat inspection. The total inspections will not necessarily equal the total of vehicle + driver + hazmat inspections. For example, if an inspector does a level 1 inspection where the vehicle and the driver are both examined, it would show up in the SMS like this:

    • Total inspections: 1
    • Vehicle inspections: 1
    • Driver inspections: 1
    • HM inspections: 0
    In other words, drivers and motor carriers can have more than one type of inspection during a single inspection.
  7. Why does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program emphasize driver safety enforcement? Back
    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.

  8. 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
    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.

  9. Do inspections that find no violations count in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
    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.

  10. Are there new regulations regarding a driver's body mass index (BMI), body fat ratio, weight, neck size and sleep apnea? Back
    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.

  11. When will CSA start using the driver component of the new Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
    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.

  12. Why is there no driver rating? Why aren't drivers more accountable? Back
    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.

  13. What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), who can access it, and how? Back
    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.

    For carrier to enroll in PSP, visit For additional questions about PSP, visit the PSP Website's FAQs page ( or the PSP "Contact Us" page (

  14. How will drivers, motor carriers, and the public be notified about driver Notice of Violations (NOVs) and Notice of Claims (NOCs)? Back
    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.

  15. I'm having problems signing in to see my data. What should I do? Back
    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.

  16. How does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) handle warning tickets for speeding? Back
    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.

  17. What are the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)? Which violations correspond to which BASIC? Back
    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.
  18. What is a "clean inspection"? Back
    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.

  19. How can drivers prepare for Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)? Back
    As a driver, you can take the following six actions to help successfully navigate CSA:

    1. Make sure you understand and follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) safety rules and regulations. As a driver, you share safety responsibilities with your employing motor carrier in several areas. For example, you must make sure that your vehicle is in safe operating condition, that you are well-rested and sober when you drive, that you drive within speed limits, and that you follow Hours-of-Service rules. You can find web-based driving tips for commercial motor vehicle operators using CMV Web-Based Driving Tips.
    2. Become knowledgeable about the new Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) and how FMCSA will use them to assess safety. You can learn about the BASICs and the new Safety Measurement System (SMS) at the CSA Website.
    3. Review your Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record at and make sure that the information is accurate. If you find any data that is inaccurate, you can have it reviewed through FMCSA's DataQs program.
    4. Keep copies of your inspection reports and review them to see where you can improve. You should know that CSA considers all roadside safety violations—not just out-of-service violations—which is different from the former SafeStat model. Therefore, under CSA, all roadside inspection results are more important than ever to you and your current and future employers.
    5. Learn about your employer's safety record. Safety information on motor carriers is publicly available online through the Safety Measurement System.
    6. Visit the CSA Website. FMCSA continually updates the CSA Website with new information and materials. Here, you can find explanations, answers to questions, articles, factsheets, briefings, and more. You can also sign up for the email subscription service and RSS feed to get the most up-to-date information, and submit questions about the new program.
  20. What is pre-inspection screening? Back
    A pre-inspection screening, which takes less time than an actual safety inspection, may take many forms. It may include, but not necessarily be limited to, a cursory check of the vehicle. These cursory checks of a vehicle 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. It is also important to note that different enforcement jurisdictions may use different methods to select or screen a vehicle for a safety inspection. There are strict criteria regarding what needs to be done for a roadside inspection report to be generated. If the pre-screening doesn't meet those criteria, no report will be generated. Keep in mind that an inspection usually takes a lot longer than a pre-screening and involves a much more intense scrutiny of the driver and/or the vehicle. A driver can request an inspection, but it is up to the roadside inspector to determine if he or she will give one or not.

  21. How does time severity work in the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS)? Back
    The violations in DSMS are impacted by time severity; that is, more recent violations are weighted more heavily than older violations that occurred within the last year count 3 times, violations that occurred between one and two years ago count 2 times, and violations between two and three years old count only 1 time.

  22. How can users access Safety Measurement System (SMS) data? Back
    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.

  23. Can a motor carrier or driver appeal a DataQs ruling? Back
    No. There is no appeal process for DataQs rulings.

  24. When 392.2 violations are listed on the roadside inspection report, how can a user determine which BASIC(s) they apply to and the severity weight? Back
    Roadside inspection reports contain all specific 392.2 local laws cited, but the Safety Measurement System (SMS) uses only 392.2 violations that translate with a specific letter suffix (i.e., 392.2C, 392.2S). If the violation is a 392.2 (with no letter suffix), then SMS does not use it. If it has a suffix and it is not listed in the tables below, SMS does not use it.

    Unsafe Driving BASIC:
    Section Violation Description Shown on Roadside Inspection Severity Weight
    392.2C Failure to obey traffic control device 5
    392.2DH Headlamps – Failing to dim when required 3
    392.2FC Following too close 5
    392.2LC Improper lane change 5
    392.2LV Lane restriction violation 3
    392.2P Improper passing 5
    392.2PK Unlawfully parking and/or leaving vehicle in the roadway 1
    392.2R Reckless driving 10
    392.2RR Railroad grade crossing violation 5
    392.2S Speeding 5
    392.2-SLLS1 State/Local Laws – Speeding 1-5 miles per hour over the speed limit 1
    392.2-SLLS2 State/Local Laws – Speeding 6-10 miles per hour over the speed limit 4
    392.2-SLLS3 State/Local Laws – Speeding 11-14 miles per hour over the speed limit 7
    392.2-SLLS4 State/Local Laws – Speeding 15 or more miles per hour over the speed limit 10
    392.2-SLLSWZ State/Local Laws – Speeding in a work/construction zone 10
    392.2-SLLT State/Local Laws – Operating a CMV while texting 10
    392.2T Improper turns 5
    392.2Y Failure to yield right-of-way 5

    Fatigued Driver (HOS) BASIC:

    392.2H State/Local Hours-of-Service (HOS) 7

    Vehicle Maintenance BASIC:

    392.2WC Wheel (mud) flaps missing or defective 1
  25. What refinements were made to the SMS Methodology after the Operational Model Test in August 2010? Back
    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:

    1. Modifications to the measure of exposure for the Unsafe Driving BASIC and Crash Indicator
    2. Refinements to the measurement approach for the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC
    3. Updates to the severity weights of roadside violations based on Subject Matter Expert review
    4. A more strategic approach to addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations, which affects the Cargo-Related BASIC
  26. What triggers an intervention? Back
    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:

    BASIC Intervention Thresholds
    General Hazardous Materials Carrier Passenger Carrier
    Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service ), Crash Indicator 65% 60% 50%
    Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related 80% 75% 65%

  27. Can you explain how safety event groups work in the new Safety Measurement System (SMS)? Back
    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*
    1 3-10 (Fatigue)
    5-10 (Fitness, Vehicle, Cargo)
    2 11-20
    3 21-100
    4 101-500
    5 501+

    *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
    1 1
    2 2
    3 3
    4 4+

    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 Combo Segment:
    Number of Inspections with Unsafe Driving Violations
    Straight Segment:
    Number of Inspections with Unsafe Driving Violations
    1 3-8 3-4
    2 9-21 5-8
    3 22-57 9-18
    4 58-149 19-49
    5 150+ 50+

    Crash Indicator BASIC

    Safety Event Group Category Combo Segment: Number of Crashes Straight Segment: Number of Crashes
    1 2-3 2
    2 4-6 3-4
    3 7-16 5-8
    4 17-45 9-26
    5 46+ 27+
  28. How are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile ranks calculated? Back
    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.

    To understand more about the BASICS, review the SMS Factsheet and briefings on the CSA Website. For even more detail, review the SMS Methodology document. The document details which values are assigned for each violation and how they are weighted in Appendix A, starting on page A-4 in the SMS Methodology document.

  29. 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
    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.

  30. How do I know if a crash will be used in my Safety Measurement System (SMS) data? Back
    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.

  31. Why does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) hold carriers responsible for drivers' errors, such as speeding? Back
    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.

  32. 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
    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.

  33. What are the inspection levels? Safety Measurement System (SMS) methodology for the past 24 months (including 2009 data)—how is that going to work? Back
    The North American Standard Driver/Vehicle Inspection Levels are explained on this FMCSA Webpage.

  34. How do I improve my percentile ranks in the SMS BASICs? Back
    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.

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