Since 2010, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has used its current Safety Measurement System (SMS) to identify motor carriers for safety interventions. And now there is a recommendation to enhance how motor carrier data is used to improve safety on the road by identifying companies that need the most intervention and helping to influence safer behaviors for all carriers.
The focus of this effort is to improve how Safety Measurement System (SMS) data is used, as well as what data is collected and prioritized, and moves away from a safety score system. While the changes are still in the proposal phase and not yet implemented, truckers should be aware of the proposed changes.
What could change?
The FMCSA has created a prioritization preview webpage with an outline of the proposed changes. To see the full proposal, check out the FMCSA website.
Here is a summary of the proposed changes:
- Reorganized BASICs—The current Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories will be replaced by new safety categories to focus on motor carriers with higher crash rates and more accurately pinpoint unsafe behaviors.
- The current Drug and Alcohol BASIC, which has had the lowest violations, will be merged into the Unsafe Driving safety category.
- Unsafe Driving will also be used for a driver operating with an out-of-service violation.
- FMCSA is splitting the current Vehicle Maintenance BASIC into two separate safety categories:
- Vehicle Maintenance: Driver Observed—This category includes things a driver should identify during a pre- or post-trip inspection. A Vehicle Maintenance: Driver Observed violation would be considered a Level 2 type violation.
- Vehicle Maintenance—This category includes things a mechanic or technician should identify during shop maintenance.
- Reorganized Roadside Violations—The existing 959 roadside violations, along with an additional 14 violations not currently applied to SMS, will be consolidated into 116 violation groups of similar safety behaviors to prevent inconsistencies that occur when multiple violations are cited for a single or very similar underlying issue. Multiple violations in a single category will only count as one.
- Simplified Severity Weights—The 1-10 weighting of violations will be replaced with a 2-value scale. OOS violations (apply to all safety categories except Unsafe Driving) and Driver Disqualifying violations (apply to Unsafe Driving only) will receive a severity weight of 2. If none of the violations in a violation group are OOS or Driver Disqualifying violations, then the violation group would receive a weight of 1.
- Improved Intervention Thresholds—Intervention thresholds will be adjusted to better reflect their relationships to crash rate.
- The new Vehicle Maintenance: Driver Observed and Vehicle Maintenance safety categories will have the same thresholds as the SMS Vehicle Maintenance BASIC:
- General Carriers: 80%
- Passenger Carriers: 65%
- HM Carriers: 75%
- The HM Compliance thresholds will increase to:
- The Driver Fitness thresholds will increase to:
- General Carriers: 90%
- Passenger Carriers: 75%
- HM Carriers: 85%
- Proportionate Percentiles—Another change is using proportionate percentiles to eliminate large percentile changes that occur for non-safety related reasons to more precisely indicate how a motor carrier's performance is trending from month to month.
- Greater Focus on Recent Violations—Only calculating percentiles for safety categories in which a carrier has received a violation within the last 12 months will place a greater focus on carriers with more recent safety issues.
- Updated Utilization Factor—The Utilization Factor would be extended to include motor carriers with up to 250,000 vehicle miles traveled per average power unit to more accurately account for the on-road exposure of motor carriers with the most miles traveled per vehicle.
- New Segmentation—To account for differences in operations, carriers will be segmented by whether their company operates primarily straight or combination vehicles in the Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, and Driver Fitness safety categories.
Will this affect my business?
As a result of these proposed changes, you may see changes to your SMS results. To see how you might be affected under the proposed methodology, you can access FMCSA’s Carrier Prioritization Preview tool via the carrier portal.
How can I prepare?
While the proposed changes have not yet been implemented, you can learn more by reviewing FMCSA’s website. The methodology, categorization, and scoring of violations may be changing, but safety and compliance are still a huge part of running a safe, profitable business.
Focusing on ensuring your business is well-managed and in compliance will set you up for success in the long run.