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  • Show All What is the Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

    • What is the motor carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) SMS is an automated system that quantifies the on-road safety performance of motor carriers so that FMCSA can identify unsafe carriers, prioritize them for intervention, and monitor if a motor carrier's safety and compliance problem is improving.

      The SMS is not a Safety Fitness Determination nor is it a safety rating pursuant to 49 CFR Part 385; also, it does not represent FMCSA's final determination about the safety of the carrier. Use of the SMS for purposes other than those identified above may produce unintended results and inaccurate conclusions.

      FMCSA highly recommends that all motor carriers periodically review the SMS and, when necessary, initiate a Request for Data Review through DataQs, an electronic data correcting system. The DataQs system is available online at http://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov .

    • How is the Safety Measurement System (SMS) used?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses the SMS to:

      • Identify motor carriers for interventions, such as warning letters, investigations, or roadside inspections.
      • Determine the specific safety problems of the carrier to focus on during an intervention.
      • Monitor motor carrier noncompliance issues over time.
    • What are the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)? Which violations correspond to which BASIC?

      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:

      1. Unsafe Driving — Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example Violations: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 397)
      2. Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance — Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in noncompliance with the HOS regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to logbooks as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example Violations: HOS, logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
      3. Driver Fitness 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. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
      4. Controlled Substances/Alcohol — 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/alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
      5. Vehicle Maintenance — Failure to properly maintain a CMV and prevent shifting loads. Example Violations: Brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, improper load securement, and failure to make required repairs. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393, and 396)
      6. Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance — Unsafe handling of hazardous materials (HM) on a CMV. Example violations: leaking containers, improper placarding, improperly packaged HM. (FMCSR Part 397 and U.S. DOT HM Regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179 & 180)
      7. Crash Indicator — Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity. It is based on information from State-reported crashes.
    • Where does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) get its data from?

      SMS gets a monthly snapshot of data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) national database, the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). SMS pulls the previous 24 months of roadside inspection data from MCMIS and State-reported commercial motor vehicle crashes and motor carrier registration/Census data and results from Federal and State investigations conducted within the previous 12 months.

    • How often are the Safety Measurement System (SMS) results updated and what timeframe does each update include?

      SMS results are updated monthly. A snapshot of the data is taken on the third or last 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:

      Release Month Data Snapshot Date Approximate Release Date
      February 2014 Friday, 01/24/2014 Week of 02/03/2014
      March 2014 Friday, 02/21/2014 Week of 03/03/2014
      April 2014 Friday, 03/28/2014 Week of 04/07/2014
      May 2014 Friday, 04/25/2014 Week of 05/05/2014
      June 2014 Friday, 05/30/2014 Week of 06/09/2014
  • Show All Why should motor carriers log in to SMS?

    • Why should a motor carrier log in to the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      Logging into the SMS provides additional functionality. Motor carriers that log in can view their Hazardous Materials Compliance and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) measurements and assigned percentiles. In addition to the publicly available BASICs, logged-in users can also view additional detailed information on roadside inspections and crashes that are not available to the general public, such as driver names and other carrier-specific details.

    • How do motor carriers log in to the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      Motor carriers can log in to the SMS in one of two ways: 1.) Entering their U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT PIN via the SMS login page, or 2.) Logging into the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal and selecting the SMS link. You will then enter the SMS as a logged-in user.

      If you do not know your PIN, click here and follow the link for requesting your U.S. DOT PIN. (Note: Entering the Docket Number PIN will not allow login.)

      Access to the SMS login page and to the FMCSA Portal is available from the SMS homepage, as copied below:

      Screenshot of a section of the SMS Homepage that illustrates the two methods for Motor Carriers to log in: using USDOT number and Motor Carrier PIN Number or via the FMSCA Portal.

    • Will the general public be able to view motor carriers' Safety Measurement System (SMS) results?

      Yes. General public users can view SMS information for motor carriers, with the exception of the measurement and percentile results of the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). General public users can view the inspections, violations, and crashes that are used to calculate the BASIC measurements and percentile ranks. However, driver names and other carrier-specific details are available only to the individual carrier and enforcement staff.

  • Show All What is included in the Motor Carrier Overview?

    • What information is displayed on the Motor Carrier Overview?

      The major sections displayed in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) for the selected motor carrier include the following:

      • The BASICs Overview — Provides the on-road results, investigation results, and overall performance of each BASIC.
      • Summary of Activities — Provides a summary of roadside inspections and crashes for the 24-month timeframe that the SMS results are based upon.
      • Recent Investigations — Provides a listing of the five most recent investigations performed on the motor carrier.
      • Data Downloads — Allows download of the data on inspections, violations, and crashes that are used in the motor carrier's SMS results. Data can be pulled for a specific Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) or for all BASICs in either Microsoft Excel or XML format.
      • Carrier Registration Information — Provides the motor carrier's registration information that was current when the SMS results were determined.
    • How do I read the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) Overview?

      The BASICs Overview categorizes the results for each of the seven BASICs.

      The On-road column lists the motor carrier's percentile for each BASIC. If the percentile is over the established Intervention Threshold for the motor carrier, the percentile is presented with a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol.

      The Investigation column displays the “Serious Violation Found” icon for a BASIC if a Serious Violation was cited within 12 months of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) results date. The icon will be present regardless of whether corrective actions have occurred. Select this link to view the list of Serious Violations.

      The BASICs Status column displays a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol, if either the On-road column's percentile is over the established threshold or if the Investigation column displays the “Serious Violation Found” icon. This indicates that the BASIC is in a Exceeds Intervention Threshold status and that the motor carrier may be prioritized for an investigation and a roadside inspection

      Note that for general public users, the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs display the message “Not Public.” Motor carriers that log in to the SMS can view the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs, but only for their own U.S. DOT Number. Within the BASICs details pages, inspection and violation listings are available to all users, regardless of their logged-in status, but the measure, percentile, and other specifics of these two BASICs are available only to logged-in motor carriers.

      Also, the Crash Indicator BASIC displays “Not Applicable” under the Investigation column because there are no violations associated with the Crash Indicator BASIC on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's list of Serious Violations.

      BASIC Overview Panel

      Screenshot of the BASIC overview panel

      The details of each BASIC can be accessed by clicking on the BASIC's tab within the BASICs Overview. Note that a motor carrier's past performance can be accessed by selecting History.

      To learn more about how to interpret the on-road and investigation columns click on the “What Does This Mean?” button.

    • What is a percentile?

      The Safety Measurement System (SMS) calculates a measure for each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) as described in the SMS Methodology document. The measure is then used to assign a ranking, or percentile, for each motor carrier that has information that could be compared against other similar carriers. This percentile ranking allows the safety behavior of a carrier to be compared with the safety behavior of carriers with similar operations and numbers of safety events.

      The percentile is computed on a 0-100 scale, with 100 indicating the worst performance and 0 indicating the best performance. The carrier in the group with the highest measure will be at the 100th percentile, while the carrier with the lowest measure in the group will be at the 0 percentile. All other carriers in the group will be between these two numbers based on their compliance records.

    • What are the intervention thresholds for each BASIC?

      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), a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol due to Serious Violations, commodity hauled (e.g., passengers, Hazardous Material (HM)), 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 a given BASIC's relationship to crash risk. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s analysis has shown that the strongest relationship to crash risk is found with high percentiles in the Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs. Therefore, these higher risk BASICs have a lower threshold for interventions than the other BASICs. Currently, the Intervention Thresholds are as follows:

      BASIC Intervention Thresholds
      Passenger HM General
      Unsafe Driving, HOS Compliance, Crash Indicator =50% =60% =65%
      Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance =65% =75% =80%
      HM Compliance =80% =80% =80%
    • What is included in the Summary of Activities?

      The Summary of Activities presents the number of roadside inspections and crashes that have occurred during the 24-month timeframe that is used to calculate the Safety Measurement System results for the motor carrier.

      The Total Inspections count consists of all roadside inspections (Levels I through VI).

      The Driver Inspection count consists of all Level I, II, III, and VI inspections. The driver OOS rate is calculated as the number of driver inspections with at least one driver OOS violation divided by the total number of driver inspections.

      The Vehicle Inspection count consists of all Level I, II, V, and VI inspections. The vehicle out-of-service (OOS) rate is calculated as the number of vehicle inspections with at least one vehicle OOS violation divided by the total number of vehicle inspections.

      The Placardable Hazardous Materials (HM) Inspection count consists of all vehicle inspections, Level I, II, V, and VI, where placardable quantities of HM are present. The HM OOS rate is calculated as the number of placardable HM vehicle inspections with at least one HM OOS violation divided by the total number of placardable HM vehicle inspections.

      The Total Crashes count consists of all the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration -reportable crashes. The number of crashes that resulted in an injury or fatality to a person involved in the crash is presented as well as the number that required at least one vehicle to be towed from the scene due to disabling damage where there were no injuries or fatalities.

    • What is included in the Recent Investigations?

      The Recent Investigations list the five most recent investigations conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or its State Partners. The listing is not limited to the 24-month timeframe that is used to calculate the Safety Measurement System results for the motor carrier.

    • What is included in the Carrier Registration Information?

      The Carrier Registration Information contains a summary of the registration information provided by the motor carrier to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA). This information is current as of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) data snapshot date. If a motor carrier updates its registration information after the SMS data snapshot date, the changes will be reflected in the next monthly SMS results.

      The most up-to-date registration information for a motor carrier can be obtained from FMCSA's SAFER system at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov .

      The date of the last update to the registration information is also listed. Motor carriers are required to update this data at least every two years. A message is displayed if the registration data has not been updated within the two-year requirement period.

      Instructions for updating motor carrier registration information are displayed by selecting the Update Registration Information button.

      Selecting the View Carrier Registration Details button will display additional details of the motor carrier's registration information, including contact information, operation classification, and type of cargo carried.

  • Show All What is included in the BASICs details sections?

    • What is included in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories' (BASICs) details of the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      Each BASIC's details page, except where noted, consists of five parts:

      • BASIC Overall Status: A Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol, based on the data, indicates that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may prioritize a motor carrier for further monitoring, and the reason (roadside and/or investigation results).
      • Data Center: Provides a means to download the roadside and investigation data that SMS uses. Users can download data in Excel (XLS) or XML format for the selected BASIC or for all BASICs.
      • On-road Performance Detail tab: Provides the SMS measure, assigned percentile, and supporting information for the selected BASIC. This includes a summary listing of violations and their violation weights, and a listing of the relevant inspections for the BASIC. The full inspection report can also be accessed from this section.
      • Investigation Results Detail tab: Identifies whether a Serious Violation was discovered during the previous 12 months from the SMS data snapshot date. If a Serious Violation was discovered, the violation and the date it was cited are listed.
      • Performance Tools tab: Presents a series of graphs that can assist a motor carrier in determining its performance under the selected BASIC. Two graphs are provided: one lists the relevant inspections versus the inspections with a violation in the selected BASIC by month for the 24-month period of the SMS results, and the second graph presents the SMS results for the entire safety event group in the selected BASIC. The graph presents the measure on the vertical axis and the percentile on the horizontal axis for the safety event group.
    • How is a carrier's Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) Overall Status determined?

      Each BASIC's Overall Status is determined by the results of the motor carrier's on-road performance over the previous 24 months and the investigation results over the previous 12 months. Overall Status will display a Exceeds Intervention Threshold symbol if either the on-road performance's percentile is over the established threshold or the investigation results show the discovery of a Serious Violation. This indicates that the BASIC is Exceeds Intervention Threshold and the motor carrier may be prioritized for an intervention, which can include a warning letter, investigation, and identification for a roadside inspection.

    • How is a violation's severity weight determined?

      All inspection violations that pertain to a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) are assigned violation weights that reflect their association with crash occurrence and crash consequences. The violation weight helps differentiate the levels of crash risk associated with the various violations attributed to each BASIC. Violation weight is assigned on a 1 -10 scale, where 1 represents the lowest crash risk and 10 represents the highest crash risk relative to the other violations in the BASIC. Also, an additional weight of 2 is applied to violations that result in out-of-service orders.

      Crashes are assigned severity weights according to their impact. Greater weight is attributed to crashes involving injuries, fatalities, and/or the release of hazardous materials than to crashes only resulting in a vehicle tow-away.

      Because the weights reflect the relative importance of each violation within each particular BASIC, they cannot be compared meaningfully across the various BASICs. The Safety Measurement System (SMS) severity weights are subject to change, so please refer to the SMS Methodology and SMS Methodology Appendix A Violations List for further information.

    • Which violations found during inspections are included in each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)?

      Inspection violations corresponding to each BASIC are found in the Safety Measurement System Methodology document, Tables 1 through 6 within Appendix A and in an Excel File.

    • How long are violations/crashes on my Safety Measurement System (SMS) results?

      Any violation or crash that occurred within the previous 24 months of performance data is considered when determining the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) measure. However, inspections, violations, and crashes are time weighted when they are included in the SMS calculations. Events that have occurred within 6 months of the SMS run date receive the highest time weight (they are multiplied times 3), events greater than 6 months but less than or equal to 12 months are assigned less time weight (they are multiplied times 2), and events that occurred greater than 12 months from the SMS run date are assigned the smallest time weight (they are multiplied times 1). Details are explained in the SMS Methodology document.

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

      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 thinks 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 are safety event groups and how are they used?

      One of the ways the Safety Measurement System (SMS) accounts for the differences between 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.

      Safety event groups enable 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.

      For a detailed description and examples of the safety event groups for each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category, please refer to the SMS Methodology document.

    • Why does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) use segmentation and how does it work?

      The SMS uses segmentation within the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to account for carrier differences by placing the carrier population into two groups based on the types of vehicles operated. Carriers are grouped by the following two vehicle types/operations:

      1. Combo Segment — Combination trucks/motor coach buses constituting 70 percent or more of the total Power Units (PUs) (vehicles).
      2. Straight Segment — Straight trucks/other vehicles constituting more than 30 percent of the total PUs (vehicles).

      The segmentation of motor carriers means that companies who have fundamentally different types of vehicles/operations are not compared to each other.

      For a detailed description and examples of the safety event groupings by and for each BASIC, please refer to the SMS Methodology document.

    • What is a Power Unit (PU) and how does the Safety Measurement System (SMS) use this information?

      PUs are recorded in the motor carrier registration data (MCS-150) on file. PUs may include vehicle types such as trucks, tractors, hazardous material tank trucks, motor coaches, and school buses.

      The number of PUs a carrier has is used in part to account for each motor carrier's level of on-road exposure when calculating the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). SMS calculates the average number of PUs for each carrier by using (1) the carrier's current number of PUs, plus (2) the number of PUs the carrier had 6 months ago, plus (3) the number of PUs the carrier had 18 months ago divided by 3. The average PUs numbers along with annual Vehicle Miles Traveled information are used as a measure of exposure to estimate the number of PUs operated over a 24-month time period when traffic enforcement violations (used in the Unsafe Driving BASIC measure) or reportable crashes (used in the Crash Indicator) could have occurred. Due to the potentially significant changes in exposure of individual carriers over the course of 24 months (via downsizing, mergers, etc.), an average number of PUs provides a more accurate estimate of vehicle exposure for carriers that have updated their MCS-150 motor carrier registration information.

      Please refer to the SMS Methodology document for additional information and an example of the average PU calculation.

    • What are the Serious Violations?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) includes investigation findings (e.g., what FMCSA or State Partners find during a motor carrier investigation) when assessing Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) performance. The Investigation Results Details tab provided in the Safety Measurement System Website displays a “Serious Violation Found” icon when an investigation conducted within the previous 12 months resulted in the discovery of a Serious Violation within a BASIC. Serious Violations include those that are determined as follows:

      • Those violations where noncompliance is so severe that they require immediate corrective action by a motor carrier, regardless of its overall safety posture (e.g., failing to implement an alcohol and/or controlled substance testing program).
      • Or, those violations which relate directly to the carrier's management and/or operational controls and are indicative of breakdowns in a carrier's management controls (pattern of violations, e.g., false reports of records of duty status).

      The “Serious Violation Found” icon will be displayed in the carrier's Investigation Results for the BASIC for 12 months following the date of the investigation. Select this link to view the list of Serious Violations.

  • Show All What crashes are included in SMS?

    • What crashes are included in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      All the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-reportable crashes, without any determination as to responsibility, are included in the SMS. A crash is reported to FMCSA if it involves the following:

      • Any truck having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds or a gross combination weight rating over 10,000 pounds 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 (HM) placard (regardless of weight). A vehicle discovered to be transporting HM without a required placard should also be included.

      AND

      • 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.
    • Why are all crashes used without any determination as to responsibility?

      The Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) Crash Indicator considers a carrier's accident involvement, without any determination as to responsibility. State-reported crash data are used to calculate the Crash Indicator measure of relative crash involvement. State-reported crash data does not have information regarding fault. The CSMS algorithm, by design, ranks carriers in comparison to other carriers. All carriers are treated the same way. In the case of the Crash Indicator measure the carrier's crash rates are being compared to other carriers' crash rates without any determination as to responsibility of individual crashes. Therefore, there is no relative disadvantage to any particular carrier. To eliminate misinterpretation, a caveat is placed wherever CSMS Crash Indicator-related values are shown. The caveat states, "A motor carrier’s crash assessment (Crash Indicator BASIC measure and percentile) and the list of crashes below represent a motor carrier’s involvement in 24 months of reportable crashes without any determination as to responsibility" When a Crash Indicator percentile is relatively high, it suggests that a further examination of causes is needed, and if correctable, action should be taken by the motor carrier. CSMS calculations are applied uniformly to all carriers and are adjusted for exposure. For a more detailed explanation of the calculation of the Crash Indicator and its components, please refer to the SMS Methodology document.

  • Show All What are interventions?

    • What are targeted roadside inspections?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides roadside inspectors with data that identifies a carrier's specific compliance problems, by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category, based on the motor carrier's Safety Measurement System results. Targeted roadside inspections occur at permanent and temporary roadside inspection locations.

    • What is a warning letter?

      The warning letter provides motor carriers with early notification of potential safety performance issues. Warning letters are based on roadside performance results collected during the previous 24 months. The warning letter is sent to the motor carrier's principal place of business and specifically identifies Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories that exceed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Intervention Threshold relative to the motor carrier's safety event grouping and outlines possible consequences of continued compliance problems. View a sample warning letter here.

    • What should a motor carrier do after receiving a warning letter?

      Carriers do not need to respond in writing to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) after receiving a warning letter. FMCSA does encourage motor carriers to log in to the Safety Measurement System (SMS) to examine their data, focusing their attention first on the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories that are over or near the Intervention Threshold. Carriers should consider doing all of the following:

      • Ensure accuracy of data. Ensure that all the data listed is accurate and belongs to their U.S. DOT Number. If data is incorrect, they can submit a data correction review request through the DataQs system.
      • Examine violation types. Examine the summary of the violations that they are receiving and notice which violations occur most frequently, and those with the highest severity weights. These are two data points that should help carriers determine their next steps.
      • Conduct detailed data analysis. Download violation data into an Excel spreadsheet for further analysis. Sort the data by driver, date, location of inspection, vehicle, vehicle type, and violation. Analyze the data for any trends to determine the root cause(s) of any safety problem(s) and review with management team.
      • Address identified safety issues. . Develop and execute strategies to improve compliance with safety regulations to prevent more intensive interventions. FMCSA has developed tools and resources that may assist motor carriers with this process. These tools may be found at Section VI "What can a motor carrier do to improve?" and on the “How to Improve Percentile Rank.”
      • Periodically review SMS data. Review SMS data monthly to monitor progress.
    • What are investigations?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration provides Safety Investigators with data that identifies a carrier's specific compliance problems, by Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), based on the motor carrier's Safety Measurement System (SMS) results. Potential investigations include the following:

      • 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 safety problems in two or fewer 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 compliance review and takes place at the carrier's place of business. It is used when the carrier exhibits broad and complex safety problems through BASICs continually exceeding the threshold, worsening BASICs (three or more), or a fatal crash or complaint.
    • What are possible follow-on actions?

      The following items are possible follow-on actions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) investigations:

      • Notice of Violation (NOV) – The NOV is a formal notice of noncompliance 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 (e.g., 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 – An order issued by FMCSA requiring the carrier to cease all motor vehicle operations.
  • Show All What can a motor carrier do to improve?

  • Show All How do I correct erroneous data in SMS?

    • How can motor carriers, drivers, and other stakeholders request a review or correction of data in the Safety Measurement System?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed a specific mechanism to facilitate data reviews. Requests for data reviews (RDRs) can be made through the DataQs system, an electronic filing system that motor carriers, drivers, and the public use. The first step is to register either at the DataQs website (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/), or via the FMCSA Portal. Instructions for filing an RDR are provided, and include simple forms and the submission of information such as the report number, date, and time of the event, State, explanation, and supporting documentation, if needed. Once filed, the RDR and all relevant documentation are routed to the organization responsible for the data, and electronic correspondence is used to communicate with the requestor. The DataQs website is open to the public and offers an online help function to walk users through the process.

      Please Note: A carrier can modify registration information (e.g., name, address, or Power Unit data) by updating the MCS-150 form.   

    • What is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) DataQs System and how can I access it?

      The DataQs system is an electronic means of filing concerns about Federal and State data released to the public by the FMCSA. DataQs is the best way to get the data correction request process initiated, as all changes to data must be made at the source (i.e., the Agency that enters the data).

      A motor carrier, driver, or other stakeholder 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 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.

      Here are some tips to assist you in filing DataQs RDRs:

      • Attach document(s) that support the RDR.
      • Be specific and detailed in your narrative.
      • Any owner-operator with a valid lease agreement submitting an RDR should include the lease agreement.
      • Ensure contact information is accurate and updated.
      • Check the status frequently (additional information may be requested).

      Please note: A carrier can modify its registration information (e.g., name, address, or Power Unit data) by updating the MCS-150 form.

  • Show All Other FMCSA Resources

  • Show All December 2012 SMS Methodology Changes

    • Were there additional changes included in December that were not included in the Safety Measurement System Preview?

      Yes, there were four additional changes: 
      • Removing the 1-5 miles per hour speeding violation from the past 24 months of data;
      • Lowering the severity weight for the generic speeding violation (392.2S) to 1 from 5 (retroactive from January 1, 2011);
      • Lowering of paper form and manner violations to a severity weight of 1 to be consistent with the same violations for electronic logbook violations; and
      • Changing the name of the Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service (HOS)) Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) to the HOS Compliance BASIC.
    • Why was the old Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) changed to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC?

      HM can greatly exacerbate the consequences of crashes and cargo spills. Because the old Cargo-Related BASIC included HM violations and load securement violations, some HM safety issues could have been masked.

    • How did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) come up with this new Hazardous Materials (HM) criteria solution?

      FMCSA consulted subject matter experts to identify and apply severity weightings to the 239 HM violations contained in the old Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) and the 112 additional HM safety-based violations attributable to the motor carrier. The Agency then conducted effectiveness testing to compare the old Cargo-Related BASIC with a new BASIC containing only the HM violations to determine which better identified carriers with a high risk of HM safety problems. The analysis found that the new BASIC identified carriers with more future violations and with higher violation rates than the old Cargo-Related BASIC.

    • What changed in the conversion of the Cargo-Related Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) to the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASIC?

      Concerns were raised that some HM safety issues could be masked due to the inclusion of both HM and load securement violations in the Cargo-Related BASIC. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implemented the HM Compliance BASIC to specifically address motor carriers that do not comply with Federal safety regulations related to properly packaging and transporting hazardous cargo, or accurately identifying and communicating hazardous cargo in the event of a crash or spill. The HM Compliance BASIC identifies carriers with higher HM violation rates (33.8% versus 29.1%) and HM out-of-service rates (5.4% vs. 4.0%) than the Cargo-Related BASIC.

    • How is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implementing the Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)?

      Motor carriers and law enforcement personnel can view data in this new safety category as of December 2012.
    • Why was the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) changed?

      Moving cargo/load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC offers three important benefits. By moving load securement violations to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and recalibrating the severity weights, FMCSA has mitigated the known flatbed bias created by information system limitations; ensured that the carriers with actual load securement violations are identified; and strengthened the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by improving the identification of carriers with the highest future crash rates for FMCSA interventions.
    • How did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) come up with this new solution for the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)?

      While cargo/load securement violations comprised 82% of violations in the Cargo-Related BASIC, they comprise just 4% of violations when included in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. FMCSA compared the “flatbed bias” of the previous Cargo-Related BASIC with that of the new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, which incorporates the cargo/load securement violations. Before the enhancements, the Safety Measurement System identified carriers with Cargo-Related BASIC percentiles of 80 and higher—the worst 20% of carriers assessed in the Cargo-Related BASIC—for interventions. In an unbiased system using the 80th percentile as the Intervention Threshold, it would be expected that approximately 20% of the tracked carriers would be at or above the 80th percentile. The analysis determined that the previous Cargo-Related BASIC identified 54% of a sample of known flatbed carriers at or above the Intervention Threshold in the Cargo-Related BASIC. The 54% determined from the analysis of the sample of tracked flatbed carriers suggested a bias against flatbed operators. Under the new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, 23% of these carriers were identified as at or above the Intervention Threshold, thus eliminating any bias.   
    • How was the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) changed?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration moved the cargo/load securement violations from the old Cargo-Related BASIC to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.

    • How does the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) plan to implement the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC)?

      FMCSA will prioritize its workload using, among other things, the modified Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. This BASIC will remain public.

    • What is the revised terminology used in the Safety Measurement System?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) gave motor carriers a preview of the revised terminology as well as the crash breakout for eight months. FMCSA encouraged feedback on the terms before they were released publicly in December. Additionally, the crashes category is broken out from the previous "crashes with fatalities and injuries" into two separate categories: “crashes with fatalities” and “crashes with injuries.”  The table below outlines the terms that are used for each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC).

      On-road Performance Column Information:
      BASIC Current Values Displayed
      Unsafe Driving Display Percentile
      No Power Unit (PU) data – No registered PU data recorded in Census information
      0% – No inspections with a violation in this BASIC cited
      < 3 inspections with violations – Less than 3 inspections with a violation in the BASIC
      No violations within 1 year – No violations cited in the past 12 months
      Controlled Substances and Alcohol Display Percentile
      0% – No inspections with a violation in this BASIC cited
      No violations within 1 year – No violations cited in the past 12 months
      Crash Indicator Display Percentile
      No PU data – No registered PU data recorded in Census information
      0% – No crashes listed for the motor carrier
      < 2 crashes – One crash
      No crashes within 1 year – No crashes cited within the past 12 months
      Hours-of-Service Compliance Display Percentile
      0% – Enough driver inspections (3+ inspections), but no violations in this BASIC cited
      < 3 driver inspections – Not enough driver inspections to be assessed (0 to 2 inspections)
      < 3 inspections with violations – Enough inspections (+3 driver inspections), but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 2 inspections with violations)
      No violations within 1 year – Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest driver inspection did not include a violation in the BASIC
      Driver Fitness Display Percentile
      0% – Enough driver inspections (5+ inspections), but no violations in this BASIC cited
      < 5 driver inspections – Not enough driver inspections to be assessed (0 to 4 inspections)
      < 5 inspections with violations – Enough inspections (+5 driver inspections), but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 4 inspections with violations)
      No violations within 1 year – Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest driver inspection did not include a violation in the BASIC
      Vehicle Maintenance Display Percentile
      0% – Enough vehicle inspections (5+ inspections), but no violations cited in the BASIC
      < 5 vehicle inspections – Not enough vehicle inspections to be assessed (0 to 4 inspections)
      < 5 inspections with violations – Enough inspections (+5 vehicle inspections), but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 4 inspections with violations)
      No violations within 1 year – Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest vehicle inspection did not include a violation in the BASIC
      Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance Display Percentile
      0% – Enough vehicle inspections (5+ inspections), but no violations cited in the BASIC
      < 5 vehicle inspections – Not enough vehicle inspections to be assessed (0 to 4 inspections)
      < 5 inspections with violations – Enough inspections (+5 vehicle inspections), but not enough inspections with BASIC-related violations (1 to 4 inspections with violations)
      No violations within 1 year – Enough inspections, but no violation cited within the past 12 months and the latest vehicle inspection did not include a violation in the BASIC
      No HM placardable vehicle inspections – Carrier does not have any relevant HM placardable vehicle inspections
    • Why did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) change the criteria for who qualifies as a passenger carrier?

      Motor carriers subject to the passenger carrier threshold in the Safety Measurement System (SMS) are held to a significantly higher standard than non-passenger carriers. Due to the importance of ensuring safe passenger transportation, enforcement stakeholders support an updated definition of passenger carrier within the SMS to more accurately identify passenger carriers subject to most of FMCSA’s regulatory authority.

    • How did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determine the new definition of passenger carrier?

      FMCSA analyzed carriers with passenger carrier authority. The updated definition adds 5,700 carriers. It also removes 4,200 carriers.

    • What are the revised criteria for which carriers are considered passenger carriers in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      With safety as our number one priority, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) clarified the definition of passenger carrier within the SMS as follows:

       

      • Add all for-hire carriers with 9-15 passenger capacity vehicles and private carriers with 16-plus passenger capacity vehicles, as these firms are under FMCSA’s authority.
      • Remove all carriers with only 1-8 capacity vehicles and private carriers with 1-15 passenger capacity vehicles (effectively removing many limousines, vans, taxis, etc.), as these firms are generally outside most of FMCSA’s authority.
      • Remove carriers where less than 2% of their respective fleets are passenger vehicles.

    • Why did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revise the criteria for which carriers are considered Hazardous Materials (HM) carriers?

      In August 2011, the criteria for identifying carriers subject to the placardable HM thresholds was changed to include any carrier with HM activity (i.e., a placarded HM inspection, review, or permit) in the past two years. Previous criteria were based only on the “HM commodities hauled” information provided by carriers in the requisite MCS-150 registration form. Feedback on this change was that certain carriers identified under these new criteria rarely hauled or were mistakenly identified as hauling placardable amounts of HM in the inspection forms. Therefore, this criteria was changed in December to more accurately reflect HM carriers subject to the more stringent Intervention Threshold.
    • How did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determine the revised criteria for who is considered a Hazardous Materials (HM) carrier?

      FMCSA conducted an analysis to determine how many carriers would be subject to the HM Intervention Threshold if the Agency changed the inspection criteria to require the observation of recent inspections and a certain percentage of inspections where the carrier was designated as hauling placardable quantities of HM. FMCSA determined that tightening HM placardable inspection criteria would still cover 94% of the placardable HM inspections in the last 24 months.

    • What are the new criteria for which carriers are considered Hazardous Materials (HM) carriers?

      The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s criteria for HM carriers has been modified in order to focus intervention resources on those carriers involved in the majority of placardable HM transport. The new inspection-based criteria include the following:

      • At least two HM placardable vehicle inspections within the past 24 months, with one inspection occurring within the past 12 months;
      • At least 5% of total inspections as HM placardable vehicle inspections

       

    • Why did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration make changes to Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) violations?

      The previous version of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) did not include any roadside violations associated with an IEP trailer distinct from the motor carrier. While violations that should be found during the pre-trip inspection are the motor carrier’s responsibility, other violations would not be noticeable to the driver and should be attributed to the IEP.  This distinction is now applied in the SMS.

    • How did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) come up with the solution for aligning the Safety Measurement System with Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) regulations?

      FMCSA uses data from the 3.5 million roadside bus and truck inspections conducted across the country each year to inform decisions about safety. FMCSA evaluated roadside inspection data to confirm that there are data present to discriminate between IEP and carrier/driver responsibility for certain violations related to the condition of the intermodal trailer. FMCSA collects information from inspection reports that indicate, based on an enforcement officer’s observation, whether the IEP provided space for a pre-trip inspection and whether the driver performed a pre-trip inspection. FMCSA applied this rule to the past 24 months of roadside inspections, resulting in an increase of approximately 22,000 violations included in the SMS Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category. A list of IEP violations can be found at https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/IEP_Attributable_Violations.xlsx.

    • What are the changes to Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) violations?

      The Safety Measurement System was updated so that the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category includes the subset of violations that (1) can be discovered and addressed as part of the driver’s pre-trip inspection on the intermodal equipment and (2) that meet the above criteria where the driver could have or should have conducted a pre-trip inspection on the intermodal equipment. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration worked collaboratively with enforcement and industry to identify the violations. Here is a link to the current list of IEP that can be attributed to the driver’s and carrier’s record:

      Violation # Violation # Violation Description IEP Attributable violations as of 12/1/12
      393.126 393.126 Fail to ensure intermodal container secured
      393.126(b) 393.126B Damaged/missing tiedown/securement device
      393.126(c)(2) 393.126C2 All corners of chassis not secured
      393.126(c)(3) 393.126C3 Front and rear of container not secured independently
      393.19 393.19 Inoperative/defective hazard warning lamp
      393.201(a) 393.201A Frame cracked / loose / sagging / broken
      393.201(c) 393.201C Frame rail flange improperly bent/cut/notched
      393.205(a) 393.205A Wheel / rim cracked or broken
      393.205(b) 393.205B Stud/bolt holes elongated on wheels
      393.205(c) 393.205C Wheel fasteners loose and/or missing
      393.207(b) 393.207B Adjustable axle locking pin missing/disengaged
      393.23 393.23 Required lamp not powered by vehicle electricity
      393.25(b) 393.25B Lamps are not visible as required
      393.25(e) 393.25E Lamp not steady burning
      393.25(f) 393.25F Stop lamp violations
      393.26 393.26 Requirements for reflectors
      393.28 393.28 Improper or no wiring protection as required
      393.55(e) 393.55E ABS - malfunctioning lamps towed CMV manufactured on or after 3/1/1998, manufactured before 3/1/2009
      393.75(a) 393.75A Flat tire or fabric exposed
      393.75(a)(1) 393.75A1 Tire — ply or belt material exposed
      393.75(a)(2) 393.75A2 Tire — tread and/or sidewall separation
      393.75(a)(3) 393.75A3 Tire — flat and/or audible air leak
      393.75(a)(4) 393.75A4 Tire — cut exposing ply and/or belt material
      393.75(c) 393.75C Tire — other tread depth less than 2/32 of inch
      393.75(f) 393.75F Tire — load weight rating/under inflated
      393.9 393.9 Inoperative required lamps
      393.9T 393.9T Inoperative tail lamp
      393.9TS 393.9TS Inoperative Turn Signal
      396.3A1T 396.3A1T Tires (general)
      393.70B1II 393.70B1II Defective / Improper fifth wheel assembly upper half
      393.45PC 393.45PC Brake Tubing and Hose Adequacy - Connections to Power Unit
      393.45B2PC 393.45B2PC Brake Hose or Tubing Chafing and/or Kinking - Connection to Power Unit
      393.45DLUV 393.45DLUV Brake Connections with Leaks Under Vehicle
      393.45DLPC 393.45DLPC Brake Connections with Leaks - Connection to Power Unit
      393.45DCPC 393.45DCPC Brake Connections with Constrictions - Connection to Power Unit
      396.5A-HNLOW 396.5A-HNLOW Hubs - No visible or measurable lubricant showing in the hub - outer wheel
      396.5B-HLOW 396.5B-HLOW Hubs - oil and/or Grease Leaking from hub - outer wheel
      396.5B-HWSLOW 396.5B-HWSLOW Hubs - Wheel seal leaking - outer wheel
      393.42A-BM 393.42A-BM Brake - Missing required brake.
      393.42A-BMAW 393.42A-BMAW Brake - All wheels not equipped with brakes as required.
      393.42A-BM-TSA 393.42A-BM-TSA Brake - Missing on a trailer steering axle.
      392.2WC 392.2WC Wheel (Mud) Flaps missing or defective
    • Are vehicle violations found during Level III driver-only inspections used in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      Previously, the SMS included Level III driver-only inspections in the Vehicle Maintenance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) only when vehicle violations were noted on the inspection. Industry and enforcement were concerned that many vehicle violations fell outside the scope of the inspection and could have biased the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC data.

    • How did the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) approach this situation where vehicle violations are found during a Level III inspection (Driver-Only) and how they will be used in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

             

      FMCSA uses data from the 3.5 million roadside inspections conducted across the country each year to inform decisions about safety. FMCSA evaluated the extent to which inspectors are citing vehicle violations during driver-only inspections to confirm that this problem merits the attention that stakeholders have demanded. Approximately 139,000 violations, or 2.6% of all vehicle violations that were used in the previous version of SMS were vehicle violations cited during a driver-only inspection. While very few driver violations are ever documented in vehicle-only inspections, this change was made to ensure that only violations within the scope of a particular type of inspection are included in the SMS. All violations from roadside inspections will continue to be on a carrier’s inspection report, however, only violations that fall within the scope of the specific inspections being performed are used in the SMS. Most basically, this means FMCSA is aligning violations that are in the SMS with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection levels by eliminating vehicle violations derived  from driver-only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections. This will ensure the accuracy of our information by allowing our experts to better focus their inspections, either on vehicle-only inspections or driver-only inspections.

    • How will the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) approach vehicle violations derived from driver-only inspections and driver violations derived from vehicle-only inspections in the future?

      FMCSA removed vehicle violations found during driver-only inspections and driver violations found during vehicle-only inspections to bring the Safety Measurement System into alignment with existing Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance policies regarding inspection levels.

    • Can a driver violation found during a Level V vehicle-only inspection (Vehicle Only) be used in the Safety Measurement System (SMS)?

      No, when SMS the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration implements the new changes to the SMS, driver violations found during Level V vehicle-only (vehicle) inspections will are no longer being used in the SMS by SMS.

    • How has FMCSA improved speeding violations?

      FMCSA has aligned speeding violations to be consistent with current speedometer regulations (49 CFR 393.82) that require speedometers to be accurate within 5 mph by removing 1 to 5 mph speeding violations. FMCSA will also lower the severity weight for speeding violations that do not designate MPH range above the speed limit to 1 for violations. These changes apply to the prior 24 months of data used by SMS and all SMS data moving forward.

    • FMCSA has aligned speeding violations to be consistent with current speedometer regulations (49 CFR 393.82) that require speedometers to be accurate within 5 mph by removing 1 to 5 mph speeding violations. FMCSA will also lower the severity weight for speeding violations that do not designate MPH range above the speed limit to 1 for violations. These changes apply to the prior 24 months of data used by SMS and all SMS data moving forward.

      FMCSA made two changes to the Fatigue (HOS) Driving BASIC. The name of this BASIC is changing to the HOS Compliance BASIC. This BASIC continues to have a strong association with future crash risk. This action is being taken to reflect that the BASIC includes hours of service recordkeeping requirements that, by themselves, do not necessarily indicate fatigued driving or driving in excess of allowable hours. The second change is that FMCSA will equally weight paper and electronic logbook violations in SMS for consistency purposes.