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FMCSA - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Adminstration

CSA - Compliance, Safety, Accountability

Get Road Smart.


s SMS - Safety Measurement System SMS - Safety Measurement System

Help Center

Get your questions about the SMS and the latest display changes answered here. Take a tour of the website, find resources to improve safety compliance, or browse SMS FAQs by topic or by entering your question below.

FMCSA’s enhanced SMS display offers new features to help you quickly and efficiently improve identified safety problems. This tour highlights important display changes. Select any of the images below to learn more.

  • CSA analyzes data collected from 3.5 million roadside inspections, investigations, and 100,000 crash reports each year. SMS organizes that data into seven BASICs. Search here to learn more about a carrier’s safety and performance data.
  • Get Road Smart about CSA. Find consolidated, user-friendly FMCSA safety information tailored for specific user groups, including a new Motor Carrier Resource Center and an updated Driver Safety Education Center.
  • Motor carriers, log in here to view SMS results.
  • Motor carriers can log in to see their complete SMS profiles with this new toolbox.
  • BASIC icons show whether or not carriers have a Carrier may be prioritized for an intervention action and roadside inspection.. Percentile ranks are available by selecting any BASIC.
  • BASICs have been reordered to show their correlation to crash rates, left to right, from highest correlation to lowest.
  • There’s now a table showing Safety Ratings—Satisfactory, Conditional, Unsatisfactory, or None—based on a ratable compliance review and not based on the BASICs. There’s also a new table showing Out of Service rates.
  • Licensing and Insurance now includes both types of insurance and minimum amounts required.
  • Below the BASICs status, you’ll see a Summary of Activities, which now includes the number of inspections with and without violations. Throughout this section, you can select arrows to display more information.
  • Carrier Registration Flags notify carriers of data fields that need updating.
  • New Penalties History displays dates and types of fines and violations. You can also access our How to Improve section, which provides information on how carriers can improve your BASICs percentiles.
  • Here’s how you can dive deeper into specific BASICs. As you select a BASIC icon, it will appear darker than the rest.
  • This box summarizes motor carrier performance in this BASIC including on-road Performance status, performance measure and percentile, percentile performance as it relates the Intervention Threshold, safety event group information, and investigation results. Select More Info for additional details.
  • Select Who Is in the Safety Event Group to see which other carriers are in the safety event group.
  • View the Carrier Measure over Time graph to view a carrier’s measure based on 24 months of on-road performance data. Zero indicates best performance. You can select Expand for more information and to customize the data displayed on this graph.
  • Measures are produced for individual carriers based on violations or crashes weighted by time and severity. Measures are then used to determine BASIC percentiles, which compare carriers with similar safety events.
  • Select Measure vs. Percentile for a graph that shows how a carrier’s measure correlates with its percentile rank over a selected period of time. Violations or crashes are weighted by time and severity to produce a measure in each BASIC. The measure is then used to assign that carrier to a percentile rank containing carriers’ information in similar safety event groups. You can select Expand for more information and to customize the data displayed on this graph.
  • The measure only considers individual performance based on 24 months of data, with a measure of 0 indicating best performance. Select from the drop-down to view this actual performance data along with how this data would appear applying the most recent SMS methodology. Select History for actual performance, and select Trends for performance applying the most recent methodology.
  • Select Inspection Results to view a graph that shows the number of inspections that a carrier has received for a selected period of time, with or without violations for this BASIC. You can select Expand for more information and to customize the data displayed on this graph.
  • This graph displays a carrier’s detailed inspection information over time for this BASIC. All inspection violations that pertain to a BASIC are assigned violation weights that reflect their association with crash occurrence and crash consequences. Select from the drop-down to view this data along with details on inspections with violations, without violations, and average severity weights per inspection.
  • Down below the charts, you can select the (+) plus or (-) minus sign next to Violation History or Inspection History to expand and see more information.
  • Under Inspection History, you can select Vehicle Inspections, with Vehicle Maint. Violations, or without Vehicle Maint. Violations. The number of inspections in each view is listed near the description.
  • The formula for the measure is provided above the measure area. You can see the total of each variable in the formula at the bottom of the table.
  • All inspections are now available in each view—simply scroll up and down to view.
  • Formulas below inspection data show how the measure has changed from the previous month.
  • At any point, you can select Complete SMS Profile to view a motor carrier’s full SMS results. This will show you complete BASIC statuses based on 24 months of data, as well as On-Road Performance details and a summary of Investigation Results.

Resources

  • 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 the Warning Letter Factsheet here.

  • 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.
  • One of the ways the SMS accounts for the differences between motor carriers and their operations is by placing carriers in safety event groups based on the number of safety events (e.g., inspections, crashes) in which the carriers have been involved. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s foremost concern is safety and it accomplishes this by addressing the carriers who 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.

    Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance, Driver Fitness, and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs

    Safety Event Group Category Number of Relevant Inspections*
    1 3-10 (HOS Compliance) 5-10 (Fitness, Vehicle)
    2 11-20
    3 21-100
    4 101-500
    5 501+

    Hazardous Materials Compliance BASIC

    Safety Event Group Category Number of Relevant Inspections*
    1 5-10
    2 11-15
    3 16-40
    4 41-100
    5 101+

    *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 PUs.

    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+
  • Questions about CSA can be answered at the CSA Website through one of three methods:

    1. Browse the CSA Website's Help Center, which has many documents covering the different aspects of CSA.
    2. Search the website's Frequently Asked Questions.
    3. If the first two methods are unsuccessful, submit your question at the CSA Feedback Page or call the Communications & Outreach Team at 877-254-5365 to receive an answer directly.
  • The Unsafe Driving BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations include speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 392 and 397). The following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) resources can help motor carriers improve their Unsafe Driving BASIC measure:


    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations. The SMC has its own webpage located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Unsafe Driving BASIC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_019_UnsafeDriv_SMC.pdf.

  • The new Carrier Overview page indicates if a carrier has a BASIC prioritized for intervention with the symbol Carrier may be prioritized for an intervention action and roadside inspections.. There are two reasons why this could occur; (1) the carrier exceeds the Intervention Threshold or (2) the carrier had Acute and/or Critical Violations noted during the most recent investigation. Users can still view specific percentile ranks for each BASIC by selecting each specific BASIC.

  • 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.

  • Keep up with the latest information on CSA as it becomes available by signing up for the email subscription service or RSS feed and by periodically reviewing the CSA Website.

  • Stakeholders can also submit feedback through the CSA feedback mechanism located at: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/CSA_Feedback.aspx.

  • 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.

  • No. This set of SMS changes, announced in a Federal Register Notice, focused on the display of information on the SMS Website (outlined in this guidance document) and does not make changes to the methodology itself.

  • Stakeholder feedback indicated that the graphs, that were also available in the previous version of SMS Online, provide important information on a carrier's measure. The measure is not relative, and represents a carrier's performance without comparison to others' performance within their safety event group. The graphs are in a new location on the specific BASICs detail pages so that they are easier to find.

  • The 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.

  • 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.

  • The Vehicle Maintenance BASIC addresses the requirements within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), specifically 49 CFR Parts 392, 393 and 396, to properly maintain a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and to prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, and overloading of a CMV. The following resources can help motor carriers improve their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC measure:

    • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Education & Technical Assistance Program's A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety, pages 81-88 and 97-110. This guide includes a number of forms and procedural information including:
      • FMCSA's Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance Forms (pg 106)
      • North American Standard Inspection Procedure: Get familiar with the inspection procedures that roadside inspectors follow and ensure that your company's vehicles are well-maintained (pg 104)
      • Driver Vehicle Inspection Form: Pre-trip inspections can help to prevent vehicle-related violations. (pg 102)

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations. The SMC has its own webpage located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_007_VM_Cargo_SMC.pdf and https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_005_VM_Inspect-Repair_SMC.pdf.

  • To make our roads safer and sharpen our focus on truck and bus companies that present a high safety risk, FMCSA will regularly make improvements to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program’s SMS. FMCSA announces these changes to the public through the CSA Website and in Federal Register Notices. FMCSA will periodically introduce safety enhancements to the SMS by previewing them, providing educational webinars, and collecting input from motor carriers, enforcement staff, and the public. The Agency designed the SMS expecting that changes would be made as new data and additional analysis became available and that stakeholders and partners would provide their feedback. The Agency continues to collect and analyze input from industry, safety advocates, and other stakeholders to further enhance effectiveness in identifying safety problems before they result in crashes. FMCSA is listening, because together we can save more lives.

  • Violations are impacted by time severity; that is, more recent violations are weighted more heavily. Violations that occurred within the last six months count three times, violations that occurred between six months and a year ago count twice, and violations between one and two years old count only once. After two years, violations do not count at all in the Safety Measurement System.

  • FMCSA uses the current safety rating process outlined in 49 CFR Part 385, which determines a carrier’s safety fitness through an Onsite Investigation. Safety rating information is available on the SAFER Website.

    1. Ensure compliance by being knowledgeable of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and the Hazardous Materials (HM) Regulations, if applicable.
    2. Understand how your safety management contributes to your safety problems.
    3. Check and update your MCS-150 carrier registration information whenever there is a change to your company's profile and at least every two years, as is required by regulation.
    4. Review your inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed.
    5. Educate yourself and your employees on the regulations and industry best practices.

    1. Ensure compliance. Take action to address trends and patterns that you find.

    Learn more about the safety regulations your company has violated by reviewing the regulations and the corresponding areas in the FMCSRs:

    • Unsafe Driving — FMCSR Parts 392 and 397
    • Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance — FMCSR Parts 392 and 395
    • Driver Fitness — FMCSR Parts 383 and 391
    • Controlled Substances and Alcohol — FMCSR Parts 382 and 392
    • Vehicle Maintenance — FMCSR Parts 392, 393 and 396
    • HM Compliance — FMCSR Part 397 and U.S. Department of Transportation HM regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179 & 180.

    Review FMCSA's educational and technical assistance document, A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety. This document contains useful information for both drivers and carriers.



     NOTE: Please do not use this guide as a substitute for the FMCSRs. You should consult the FMCSRs, which are updated quarterly online.

    2. Understand how your safety management contributes to your safety problems. Systematically assess your company's safety management practices and make improvements where necessary.



    It is important for you to consider how safety will be achieved within your organization. Putting this in place begins with developing processes that incorporate safety into every aspect of your operation. Whether you are just starting out, or you have an established company, you should have safety-minded business practices. These will help make sure that you follow Federal regulations. Having these in place can save lives and reduce injuries. They can also improve your company's bottom line by saving time and money on paying fines and responding to regulatory compliance issues. They can also reduce the financial cost of crashes. FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC) to help with this process. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to each of the BASICs here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/HelpCenter/Resources.aspx?type=topic&vID=44546. To help identify areas that are causing your safety breakdowns, use the SMC and ask yourself these questions:

    POLICIES AND PROCEDURESOperational rules and processes for a motor carrier and its employees.

    1. Do you have policies and/or procedures in place for all areas of safety, especially those FMCSA has noted as weaknesses?
      • Are your policies and procedures clearly defined for all the safety management processes noted below: roles and responsibilities; qualifications and hiring; training and communication; monitoring and tracking; and meaningful action?
      • Are they updated to match the current environment and align with regulations or other company policies?
      • Are they realistic? If implemented as stated, would they achieve intended goals?
      • Are they documented? How are they communicated?

    ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIESExpectations and assignment of duties for a motor carrier and its employees.

    1. Are the roles and responsibilities of employees in your company clearly defined?
    2. Are the roles and responsibilities effective as defined?
      • Are they complete? Do they cover all policies and procedures?
      • Are they updated to match the current environment and align with policies and procedures?
      • Are they realistic? As defined, will they achieve intended goals? Are they documented? How are they communicated?

    QUALIFICATIONS AND HIRINGFinding and qualifying people for the defined roles and responsibilities.

    Hiring

    1. Are your job descriptions well written? Do the job listings have adequate visibility? Are you getting enough applicants?
    2. Do the wrong people apply for the job because the job description does not match the real job?

    Qualifications

    1. Have you hired employees who are not qualified for the position due to:
      • lack of background investigation, or
      • lack of, or poor understanding of, the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed for the job?

    TRAINING AND COMMUNICATIONOngoing process to ensure that a motor carrier and its employees have the proper skills and knowledge to complete their jobs.

    Training

    1. Do you have training in place?
    2. Is your training adequate and effective?
      • Have you conducted a comprehensive assessment of training needs?
      • Does your training method and approach match content?
      • Are your participants evaluated to see if they understand training material?
      • Was anything (or enough) done to support training in the field?

    Communication

    1. Are you communicating effectively with your employees?
    2. Are there consistent and open channels of communication within your organization?
    3. Do your communication methods match the needs of the situation? Frequency? Understandable format? Language?

    MONITORING AND TRACKINGEnsuring that a motor carrier and its employees are in compliance with policies and procedures and roles and responsibilities.

    1. Do you have a process for monitoring and tracking your employees?
    2. Are you monitoring and tracking frequently enough?
    3. Are you documenting any behavior monitoring adequately?
    4. Is the right behavior being tracked?

    MEANINGFUL ACTIONProviding positive reinforcement for, or aiming at improving or correcting, employee behavior.

    1. Are you able to effectively assess the monitoring and tracking data and select the appropriate meaningful action?
    2. Are you implementing refresher training when appropriate?
    3. Are you implementing a disciplinary process when appropriate?
    4. Are you implementing an incentive reward and recognition program?
    5. Are you implementing improvements to safety management processes when monitoring and tracking data points to a safety management process breakdown?

    3. Check and update your MCS-150 carrier registration information.

    1. Review your motor carrier information including address, email address, number of Power Units (PUs) and drivers, and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). Ensure that VMT reflects the previous calendar year and is accurate.
    2. Update your motor carrier registration information (MCS-150) if any data needs to be corrected.

    4. Review your inspection and crash reports data and request corrections as needed. Review your reports through the SMS Website.

    1. Do all of the inspection and crash reports belong to your company? Is any of the data included in these reports incorrect? Remember that all safety-based violations count, not just out-of-service violations.
    2. If you think any of the data is erroneous, request corrections through FMCSA's DataQs system. The DataQs program allows motor carriers and drivers to request a data review of information that resides in FMCSA databases.

    5. Educate yourself and your employees! Visit the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website to learn more about CSA.

    1. Subscribe to the RSS feed or email list to stay connected on the latest CSA news and information.
    2. Educate your drivers!
      1. Hand out the Driver Factsheet (PDF, 399 KB). This factsheet tells drivers what they need to know about CSA and what they can do to prepare for the change.
      2. Review with drivers FMCSA's CMV Web-Based Driving Tips. This website was developed to raise the consciousness of CMV drivers about common driving errors and to provide valuable driving tips through an easily accessible tool: the Internet. Fleet safety managers can also use this website for their driver training programs. These tips offer preventive measures that drivers can take to help avoid crashes.
      3. Fleet safety managers can also leverage the SIRs available within the SMS. SIRs is a compilation of articles, reports, and other tools designed to assist motor carriers with improving their current safety management practices. SIRs are searchable by resource number, BASIC, or safety management practice.
  • Motor carriers that log in to the SMS can view their Crash Indicator and Hazardous Materials Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) status and their Inspection Selection System value. Carriers can also view detailed information on roadside inspections and crashes that is not available to the public, such as driver names and other carrier-specific information.

  • The structure of the new SMS is such that the motor carrier’s role in the crash (i.e. preventability) is not automatically determined or considered. In fact, recordable crash reports that States submit to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) do not include the motor carrier’s role in the crash. Consequently, motor carriers are identified for possible intervention based on recordable crashes without consideration of the motor carrier’s role.

    This approach is taken because data analysis has historically shown that motor carriers who are involved in crashes, regardless of the motor carrier’s role, are likely to be involved in more future crashes than carriers who are not. Put simply, past crashes are a good predictor of future crashes.
    However, as of August 1, 2017, FMCSA is conducting a 24-month Crash Preventability Demonstration Program to review the preventability of certain crash types. Throughout the Demonstration Program, FMCSA will maintain data so that at the program’s conclusion, the Agency can conduct analyses to include: the cost of operating the test and its extrapolation to a larger program; future crash rates of carriers that submitted RDRs; future crash rates of motor carriers with Not Preventable crashes; and impacts to the SMS Crash Indicator BASIC and prioritization. The analysis will be used to examine industry assertions that crashes of these types are not preventable and that removing these crashes from motor carriers’ records would result in a better correlation to future crash risk, as well as to inform future policy decisions on this issue. Details about the program can be found here: https://fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/crash-preventability-demonstration-program

  • FMCSA uses the current safety rating process outlined in 49 CFR Part 385, which determines a carrier’s safety fitness through an Onsite Investigation. Safety rating information is available on the SAFER Website.

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Headquarters sends warning letters to motor carriers. A warning letter notifies a motor carrier that its safety performance data shows a lack of compliance with motor carrier safety regulations. The warning letter lists the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) where the carrier’s performance indicates safety issues and encourages the carrier to look at its Safety Measurement System (SMS) data online.

    Carriers do not need to respond in writing to FMCSA after receiving a warning letter. FMCSA encourages motor carriers to log in to the SMS to examine their data, focusing their attention first on the BASICs that are over or near the Intervention Threshold. Carriers should also 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 potentially incorrect, they can submit a request for data review through DataQs.
    • 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 findings with their management team. For more information on how to conduct detailed analysis, check out this FAQ.
    • 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 are referenced in this FAQ.
    • Periodically review SMS data. Review SMS data monthly to monitor progress.
    • Review the Warning Letter Factsheet.
  • The Summary of Activities presents the most recent investigation and the number of roadside inspections and crashes that have occurred during the 24-month timeframe that are used to calculate the Safety Measurement System (SMS) results for the motor carrier.

    The Total Inspections count consists of all roadside inspections (Levels I through VI). The inspection total is broken down into total inspections without violations used in the SMS and total inspections with violations used in the SMS.

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

    Selecting “Continue for more Crash, Inspection & Investigation Details” reveals more information about recent investigations, inspections, and crashes. The five most recent investigations and when they occurred are listed. Inspections are broken down by type (i.e., driver, vehicle, and placardable Hazardous Materials (HM)) and include out-of-service (OOS) percentile rates.

    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 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 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.

    Total Crashes is broken down into three categories: Fatal, Injury, and Towaway.

  • 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.

  • The HOS Compliance BASIC addresses requirements in Parts 392 and 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations that relate to the operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in noncompliance with the HOS regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to records of duty status (RODS) as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example violations include exceeding HOS, maintaining incomplete or inaccurate RODS, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. The following resources can help motor carriers improve their percentile in this BASIC:

    The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program’s Safety Management Cycle (SMC) tool helps carriers determine the organizational breakdowns that are causing safety problems. Carriers can visit the CSA Website to learn more about the tool and how to use it. Carriers can also download an overview of the SMC here and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical process breakdowns in the HOS Compliance BASIC here.

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reordered the BASICs in the SMS display in response to stakeholder requests to recognize distinctions between each BASIC and crash rate based on the results of the SMS Effectiveness Test. The complete report is available here. The display orders the BASICs according to each BASIC's relationship with crash rate. The BASICs located on the left are most closely related to high crash rate; this relationship decreases moving from left to right.

  • The table below outlines the terms that are used for each 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
    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
    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
    Controlled Substances/ 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
    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
    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
  • The Safety Measurement System (SMS) determines a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) on-road performance percentile for each motor carrier within each BASIC based on how it ranks relative to other carriers with a similar number of safety events (i.e., inspections, violations, or crashes). The new SMS display highlights carrier safety event groups to address carriers’ requests to know which carriers they are being compared to and to clarify that the SMS is a relative system. Safety event groups are shown for the public BASICs only and are not shown for the Hazardous Materials Compliance and Crash Indicator BASICs.

  • The Trends graph indicates how a motor carrier’s on-road performance measure has fluctuated over time using the current SMS methodology for all of its snapshots. The History graph reflects a motor carrier’s on-road performance measure at each point in time using the version of the SMS methodology that was in use when the snapshot was taken. The new SMS display allows users to view the Trends and History graphs side by side for easier comparison.

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

    • BASIC Overall Status: A Carrier may be prioritized for an intervention action and roadside inspections. 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 an Acute/Critical Violation was discovered during the previous 12 months from the SMS data snapshot date. If an Acute/Critical 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.
  • 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.

  • Under CSA, the data collected at the roadside is more important than ever because it is used in the Safety Measurement System to assess carriers' safety performance. Thus, inspection and crash data that are reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must meet high standards of uniformity, completeness, accuracy, and timeliness. FMCSA has organized its effort to improve data quality into four core initiatives:

    1. Train inspectors on how to make consistent documentation of roadside inspection and violation data.
    2. Standardize processes for challenging data by providing procedural guidance on the management of the roadside data challenge process through the DataQs system.
    3. Increase awareness of high-level goals of the inspection program by communicating to inspectors about how good inspections can support a systematic enforcement program and informing industry about the differences between screenings and inspections.
    4. Create a system to ensure that inspectors use a uniform inspection selection process.
  • The HM Compliance BASIC includes unsafe handling of HM on a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Example violations: leaking containers, improper placarding, improperly packaged HM. (FMCSR Part 397 and U.S. Department of Transportation HM regulations Parts 171, 172, 173, 177, 178, 179 & 180). The following resources can help motor carriers improve their HM Compliance BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations. The SMC has its own webpage located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the HM Compliance BASIC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_13_006_HM_Compliance_SMC.pdf.

  • 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.

  • Carriers can only receive safety ratings following an on-site investigation (i.e., a compliance review as defined in 49 CFR Part 385) conducted at the carrier's place of business. The rating is either Satisfactory, Conditional, or Unsatisfactory. The safety rating methodology can be found in 49 CFR Part 385 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. A safety rating is issued to a carrier based on the results of the last on-site investigation. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may upgrade the safety rating if a carrier prevails in an administrative review proceeding as outlined in § 385.15. Additionally, the carrier may request FMCSA to upgrade the rating by demonstrating required corrective action as outlined in § 385.17. In accordance to §§ 385.11 and 385.13, motor carriers that receive a final Unsatisfactory rating are deemed to be ‘unfit’ and are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

  • Understanding the following information will help carriers analyze their SMS safety data at a deeper level. Carriers that have a deeper understanding of their SMS data will be able to fix their safety problems more easily. This will improve their SMS percentile ranks in the long run. This document is divided into sections that are aligned with the tabs in the SMS Excel download.

    Violation Summary
    This tab will be found in all of the SMS Excel downloads for each carrier except the crash file. The main benefit of analyzing the data in this tab is to look at the frequency of violations on three levels. One level is to look at an individual violation by the code and compare to see which violations are the most frequent. Another level is to look at which violations are leading to the most out-of service (OOS) violations. The last and most important analysis of the data in this tab involves grouping violations that are similar. For example, put together all speeding violations or all violations about tires, etc. Next, examine the groups of violations to see which groups of violations come up most frequently. The carrier will have an idea of where to focus after these analyses are done in conjunction with the other sections of the download. The carrier should consider not only the frequency of the violation, but also the severity points for each violation when deciding which violation to focus on. Carriers can look up the severity weights of each violation here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_AppendixA_ViolationsList.xls.

    Acute-Critical Violations
    This tab will be found in all of the SMS Excel downloads for each carrier except the crash file. If the carrier has numerous Acute and/or Critical Violations, analysis should be done by grouping similar types of violations. Next, the carrier for each violation and/or each violation type should to try to understand how your safety management contributes to your safety breakdowns. Systematically assess your company’s Safety Management Practices and make improvements where necessary.

    Inspections with Violation
    This tab will be found in all of the SMS Excel downloads for each carrier except the crash file. This tab has numerous fields, which lend to various types of analysis.

    For the inspection section, carriers can analyze their inspection data by date, allowing the carrier to see if trends exist for certain time periods. The carrier should look to see if there are certain periods of time where certain types of violations were more or less present. In addition to looking at the data chronologically, a carrier can look at blocks of time or seasons. Carriers can sort the data by State to see if there are any geographical trends by examining the data at the State by State or regional level. Carriers can also look to see, if applicable, the impact of Hazardous Materials (HM) inspections vs. non-HM materials inspections.

    Carriers will want to organize their inspection data by driver. This includes looking at individual drivers, but also grouping drivers by where they are based (if relevant) and type of load(s) they haul (if relevant).

    The vehicle section will help carriers see if certain types of trucks are causing more issues than others. This field is particularly useful with the Vehicle Maintenance and HM Compliance Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

    Viewing the violations, their severity weights, and their impact on OOS can also be a rich data source for carriers. The main benefit is to look at the frequency of violations on many levels. One level is took an individual violations by looking at the code and comparing to see which violations are the most frequent. Another level is to look at which violations are leading to the most OOS violations. Carriers should group violations that are similar; for example, put together all speeding violations or all violations about tires, etc. and then examine which violations come up most frequently. Lastly, carriers should look at the severity weights of the violations as they, along with the frequency, can help the carrier know where to focus. Multiplying the number of times a certain violation occurred with the severity weight can show a carrier how a violation or a group of violations can be impacting a carrier overall.

    Crashes
    Carriers who have enough crashes can use this Excel file to help identify three types of trends. Carriers can see if their crashes are happening in a certain State or part of the country, which can then lead the carrier into an inquiry of why that is so. The carrier can determine if there are particular drivers who are prone to crashing. If certain individuals are the problem, this will focus the carrier on how to proceed with fixing the problem. Carriers with multiple drivers could look to see if the majority of drivers are coming from a certain location. Lastly, the carriers are given the Vehicle Identification Numbers of trucks and can use this information to determine types of trucks getting into crashes. This might lead to some interesting trends if certain types of vehicles are crashing more frequently than others. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) lists a lot of crash countermeasures on their website that can assist motor carriers with ways to improve their Crash Indicator BASIC measure.

    Other
    Carriers should almost always look at each BASIC by itself as the data is most useful when analyzed this way. However, it could be helpful to look at all of the BASICs together when examining how many violations each driver is contributing to the carrier’s safety record.

    Additionally, FMCSA has some information in the SMS Information Center that will help carriers improve in each of the BASICs:

  • Motor carriers can log in to the SMS by entering their U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT PIN on the SMS login page, or signing in to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal and selecting the SMS link.

    You can request a U.S. DOT PIN via https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and follow the instructions on the page. You can also call 800-832-5660 for assistance.

    If you do not know your PIN, then you should request a new U.S. DOT PIN via https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and follow the instructions on the page. (Note: Entering the Docket PIN will not allow login.)

    Access to the SMS login page and to the FMCSA Portal is available on the SMS homepage.

  • The Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS) Crash Indicator includes all reportable crashes, regardless of the carrier’s or driver’s role in the crash. FMCSA’s SMS does not weight a crash differently based on the carrier’s or driver’s role, although it does weight crashes based on severity. State-reported crash data are used to calculate the Crash Indicator measure of relative crash involvement. State-reported crash data do not have information regarding fault. The SMS 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 regardless of the role of a carrier in these crashes. Therefore, there is no relative disadvantage to any particular carrier. To eliminate misinterpretation, a caveat is placed wherever SMS Crash Indicator-related values are shown. The caveat states, “The list of crashes represent a motor carrier’s involvement in reportable crashes regardless of the carrier’s or driver’s role in the crash.” 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. SMS 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.

    However, as of August 1, 2017, FMCSA is conducting a 24-month Crash Preventability Demonstration Program to review the preventability of certain crash types. Throughout the Demonstration Program, FMCSA will maintain data so that at the program’s conclusion, the Agency can conduct analyses to include: the cost of operating the test and its extrapolation to a larger program; future crash rates of carriers that submitted RDRs; future crash rates of motor carriers with Not Preventable crashes; and impacts to the SMS Crash Indicator BASIC and prioritization. The analysis will be used to examine industry assertions that crashes of these types are not preventable and that removing these crashes from motor carriers’ records would result in a better correlation to future crash risk, as well as to inform future policy decisions on this issue. Details about the program can be found here: https://fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/crash-preventability-demonstration-program

  • Recent Investigations lists 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.

  • 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.

  • The Driver Fitness BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations include failing to have a valid and appropriate Commercial Driver's License and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 383 and 391). The following resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the Driver Fitness BASIC measure:

    =FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations. The SMC has its own webpage located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Driver Fitness BASIC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_021_Fitness_SMC.pdf.

  • The SMS website includes licensing and insurance status, safety rating, and penalties history information to meet stakeholder requests to have this information in the same place as the SMS's Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) data. This information has always been available on FMCSA's other public websites. The SMS display changes simply provide allow all of the information to be accessed from one website.

  • These inspections can be viewed in the Inspection History section for these BASICs on the SMS Website. Inspection History uses three views: the total number of inspections for each carrier, as well as a breakdown of the number of inspections with and without violations.

  • Most FMCSA questions that are unrelated to CSA can be answered either by FMCSA Headquarters at 1-800-832-5660 or by State FMCSA field offices.

  • Although motor carriers have to update their MCS-150 form every two years, motor carriers should understand that this is just the minimum requirement; motor carriers may update their MCS-150 form at any time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration encourages carriers to update their MCS-150 any time there is a change in their data. Since the Safety Measurement System (SMS) uses VMT and PU data, motor carriers should update their form at least once a year. Motor carriers can update their MCS-150 data here by selecting “I need to update my U.S. DOT Number registration information or file my biennial update” and following the instructions. Instructions for updating your MCS-150 form are available here.

    The SMS updates monthly. MCS-150 changes will not appear immediately in the SMS, but changes will likely show up the following month. However, MCS-150 updates should show up more quickly on the Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System Website.

  • The new Inspection Results graph contains detailed information, including inspections with violations, inspections without violations, and average severity weights per inspection when expanded. This additional information allows users to take an in-depth look at the carrier's safety performance trends in a given month.

  • In the new SMS display, the Inspection History section within a Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category offers three views to improve the visibility of inspections without violations: the total number of inspections for each carrier, as well as a breakdown of the number of inspections with and without violations.

  • 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%
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates all carriers throughout North America that haul loads over 10,000 lbs. and travel interstate. FMCSA also regulates carriers that haul hazardous materials intrastate. These are the carriers that are included in the SMS.

  • 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 are commonly confused with a complete safety inspection. If an 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 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.

  • The following crash countermeasure resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the Crash Indicator BASIC measure:

    Motor-Carrier-Management-Related:

    Driver-Related:

    Vehicle-Related:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations. The SMC has its own webpage located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Crash Indicator BASIC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_018_CrashIndic_SMC.pdf.

  • When enforcement discovers a driver breaking the law, the officer has several ways to impact the driver and the carrier he/she is representing. It is important to understand each of these ways, how each way impacts the carrier and driver, and how to remove each from your record. Enforcement can issue a citation or warning to a driver for breaking a State law. Citations can be defended in State court. Cases that are lost, or where the plaintiff pleads guilty, are called convictions. Convictions will impact the driver and could show up on the driver’s Commercial Driver’s License and Moving Violation Record.

    In addition, enforcement can give a violation on a roadside inspection report. These violations will appear in a driver’s Pre-Employment Screening Program record and could show up in the carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) data. To know which violations are used in SMS, see Table A of the SMS Methodology located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf. Carriers and drivers can try to remove incorrect roadside inspection data from their record using DataQs (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/). It is possible that a driver can receive a warning or citation with a roadside violation for the same incident. If the carrier or driver wants to protest both of them, they need to do each independently through the aforementioned process. The outcome of one doesn’t necessarily impact the other because each is in a different jurisdiction. Citations are adjudicated in State court, while DataQs is a Federal program.

  • FMCSA issues three potential safety ratings as defined below. A carrier may only receive a Satisfactory safety rating as defined at 49 CFR § 385.3 from an on-site investigation (i.e., a compliance review as defined in 49 CFR Part 385) that examined the full scope of the safety fitness standard elements set forth at 49 CFR § 385.5. A carrier may receive a Conditional or Unsatisfactory safety rating from an on-site investigation that examines either the full scope or only specific elements of the safety fitness standard set forth at 49 CFR § 385.5.

    • Satisfactory – The carrier received an on-site investigation indicating that safety controls are sufficient to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard.
    • Conditional – The carrier received an on-site investigation indicating that safety controls are inadequate but have not yet resulted in violation of the safety fitness standard.
    • Unsatisfactory – The carrier received an on-site investigation indicating that management controls are inadequate and have resulted in violations of the safety fitness standard. 49 CFR 385.3. A motor carrier with a final rating of “unsatisfactory” is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. 49 CFR 385.13(a).
  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety is designed to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Portal allows users to register using your U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT PIN. For questions about the Portal, contact compass@dot.gov or call 800-832-5660.

  • 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 Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System Website.

    Motor carriers are required to update this data at least every two years. Failure to do so will result in the carrier's U.S. DOT Number being inactivated. 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 Info” button.

    Selecting the “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.

  • The Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC includes operation of commercial motor vehicles by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations include use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation Parts 382 and 392). The following Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) resources can assist motor carriers in ways by which to improve the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC measure:

    FMCSA created a tool, the Safety Management Cycle (SMC). The SMC helps carriers determine their organizational breakdowns that are causing the carriers' safety violations. The SMC has its own webpage located here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/About/SMC_Overview.aspx. Carriers can download an overview of the SMC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_002_SMC_Overview.pdf and download a list of safety improvement practices that help resolve typical carrier process breakdowns related to the Controlled Substance and Alcohol BASIC here: https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/FMC_CSA_12_022_Sub_Alc_SMC.pdf.

  • Users can view a carrier's or broker's licensing and insurance information in the licensing and insurance table on the new Safety Measurement System (SMS) display. This table lists the types of interstate operating authority a company has, such as property, passengers, household goods (moving companies), or broker.

    A carrier or broker must provide the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with proof of insurance to have “Active For-Hire Authority.” Private carriers (i.e., carriers that only carry their own items and are not for hire) do not need to provide FMCSA a copy of their insurance.

    Users can see if the carrier or broker has provided evidence of insurance for “Active For-Hire Authority” by checking the “Minimum Insurance on File” column. When SMS displays the following message: “U.S. DOT# (XX) has no current for-hire operating authority with FMCSA,” the carrier is not eligible for For-Hire operations.

    Below is a sample licensing and insurance table from the new SMS display. More detailed licensing and insurance information can be obtained from FMCSA's Licensing and Insurance system (http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/).

    Licensing and Insurance as of 4/15/2013
    Active For-Hire Authority Minimum Insurance On File?
    Type Y/N MC#
    Property Yes 12345 Yes
    Passenger No    
    Household Goods No 12358 No
    Broker Yes 12589 Yes
  • Assistance with an inactive U.S. DOT Number can be obtained by calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Information Line at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.

  • FMCSA requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information through the MCS-150 biennial update every two years. You are required to provide this update every two years even if your company has not changed its information, has ceased interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business and you did not notify FMCSA.

    There are certain conditions that require updates within 30 days of a change, including changes to a carrier’s legal name, form of business, or address.

    More details are available at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/updating-your-registration.

  • The new Inspection History section includes additional safety data to help users quickly understand why the carrier's Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category measure and corresponding percentile rank changed from the previous month.

  • There are several components to the SMS calculation. The first thing that needs to be calculated is the measure for each BASIC. The measure has a numerator and denominator. Once the measure is determined, there is a process to convert the measure into a percentile rank.

    Numerator of the Measure
    The numerator for the measure is the same for all BASICs. This calculation simply involves determining all the violation points, or crash severity points for each BASIC. The first step is totaling all the violation points within each BASIC for each inspection. If any exceed 30, then reduce them to 30 for the inspection for the upcoming calculations.

    The second step is to take all the violations that occurred in each BASIC and break them down into three time periods. Using the date of the most recent snapshot (this date can be found on the SMS Website under the “Search for Motor Carrier SMS Monthly Results” text in the search box on the far right of the screen), place the violations into three groups: violations that happened in the last 6 months, violations that happened between 6 months ago and 1 year ago, and violations older than 12 months, but within the last 24 months.

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has time weights for inspections. More recent inspections are worth more. For any inspection that happened in the last 6 months, points are multiplied by 3; for any inspection that has happened between 6-12 months, points are multiplied by 2; and, for any inspection that happened more than 1 year ago, but within the last 24 months, points are multiplied by 1.

    Next, total all the severity points for each inspection for each BASIC of the three groups. Remember to never exceed 30 points for any inspection per BASIC. Then, multiply the total of that group that occurred within the last 6 months by 3, the total of that group that happened between 6–12 months by 2, and the total of that group that happened more than 1 year ago, but within the last 24 months by 1. Then add those three numbers together and you have the numerator of the measure.

    Denominator of the Measure
    The denominator of the measure differs depending on which BASIC you are calculating.

    For Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, and Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance BASICs
    Total all the inspections for each of the three groups. Then multiply the total of that group that occurred within the last 6 months by 3, the total of that group that has happened between 6-12 months by 2, and the total of that group that happened more than 1 year ago, but within the last 24 months by 1. Then add those three numbers together. This is the denominator of the measure.

    Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs
    There are several parts to this calculation. The first part is calculating the average Power Units (PUs). This is done by taking the carrier’s PU total from 18 months ago, 6 months ago, and today in SMS and adding them together and dividing by 3. Carriers can look up their PU information in the History Section of SMS. Look at the history of the Unsafe Driving or Crash Indicator BASICs.

    Next, the Utilization Factor needs to be determined. A carrier needs to determine if they are a straight or compound fleet. If the carrier had 30% or more of their trucks as straight, then they are considered in the straight truck group and, if it is less than that, then they are considered combo. Next, the carrier needs to divide their Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) data by their average PU total to determine their VMT per average PU. The VMT they should use is the one currently in SMS. SMS will use the total from the last full year. So, if it is 2011, SMS will use the 2010 data. If the 2010 data is missing, SMS will use the 2009 data. If the 2009 and 2010 are both missing, then SMS assigns the carrier a 1 for the Utilization Factor. Carriers should use the chart that applies to their carrier (i.e., combo or straight) to determine their Utilization Factor. See below.

    VMT per PU for Combo Segment
    Combo Segment
    VMT per Average PU Utilization Factor
    < 80,000 1
    80,000 - 160,000 1+0.6[(VMT per PU-80,000)/ 80,000]
    160,000 - 200,000 1.6
    > 200,000 1
    No Recent VMT Information 1
    VMT per Average PU for Straight Segment
    Straight Segment
    VMT per Average PU Utilization Factor
    < 20,000 1
    20,000 - 60,000 VMT per PU/ 20,000
    60,000 - 200,000 3
    > 200,000 1
    No Recent VMT Information 1

    Next, the average PU is multiplied by the Utilization Factor and this will be your denominator.

    Determining Percentile Rank
    Now, the carrier divides the denominator into the numerator for each BASIC. This is the carrier’s measure for the BASIC.

    The measure is then compared to other carriers’ safety event groups. Safety event groups are explained in this Frequently Asked Question here. The carrier with the highest measure within the safety event group receives a percentile rank of 100 and the one with the lowest measure receives a percentile rank of 0. The rest of the carriers in the safety event group are slotted between those percentile ranks. Carriers cannot calculate their percentile rank on their own because they don’t have other carriers’ safety data. However, there is a place on the SMS Website that gives carriers a measure/percentile rank conversion chart. To view this chart, go to the SMS Website and search for your carrier by placing your U.S. DOT Number in the appropriate search box. Now you should be on your carrier overview page, so select the BASIC that you want to look up. Once on this BASIC page, find and click on the Performance Tools tab on the right side of the screen below the Data Center section. Once you are in this tab, click on Measure View on the far right hand of the screen. The graph that is showing on this page maps measure to percentile rank. The vertical line is for measure and the horizontal line is for percentile rank. The line in the graph shows the correlation between measure and percentile rank for that BASIC and safety event group.

  • 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.
  • The severity points for all violations used in the SMS can be found in Appendix A of the SMS Methodology and in this MS Excel spreadsheet.

    The severity weights reflect the relative importance of each violation within each particular Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC). They cannot be compared meaningfully across the various BASICs. For example, a violation with a severity weight of 7 in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC is not intended to be equivalent to a violation with a severity weight of 7 in the Driver Fitness BASIC. The violation severity weights are currently being reviewed based on feedback from stakeholders.

  • The purpose of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) is to identify carriers for intervention, to assist the Agency in using its limited resources to investigate those carriers with the greatest rate of non-compliance and crash risk. The SMS percentile rankings reflect a carrier's performance relative to other carriers at a point in time and are not a federal safety fitness rating.

    A Safety Rating can only be issued at the conclusion of an on-site investigation resulting in one of three possible ratings (1) “satisfactory” – indicating that management controls are sufficient to ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard, (2) “conditional” – indicating that safety controls are inadequate but have not yet resulted in violation of the safety fitness standard, or (3) “unsatisfactory” – indicating that management controls are inadequate and have resulted in violations of the safety fitness standard. 49 CFR 385.3. A motor carrier rated “unsatisfactory” is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce. 49 CFR 385.13(a).

    Congress gave FMCSA statutory authority to determine the safety fitness of motor vehicle operators (49 U.S.C. 31144). FMCSA has established federal motor carrier safety standards (49 C.F.R. Parts 390 - 399), procedures for conducting an on-site investigation (i.e., a compliance review as defined in 49 CFR Part 385) of whether a carrier is in compliance with these safety standards (49 C.F.R. Part 385), and criteria for assigning the carrier a specific safety rating (49 C.F.R. 385.3).

    The SMS does not affect a carrier's safety rating, which means that a carrier can have a “satisfactory” safety rating but exceed an intervention threshold in a BASIC. SMS uses aggregated safety and compliance data to assess and rank carriers on a monthly basis for enforcement prioritization purposes. It is intended to identify the specific areas in which a carrier has regulatory compliance or safety problems so that the carrier can be prioritized for intervention.

  • There are several steps that carriers can take to successfully navigate the CSA program.

    Check, update, and review your records:

    • Ensure that your Motor Carrier Identification Report (MCS-150) is up-to-date and accurate. Pay special attention to the number of Power Units and Vehicle Miles Traveled that are used in some of the Safety Measurement System (SMS) calculations.
    • Monitor and review your Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) status that includes your on-road performance, inspection and crash data, as well as your investigation results in the SMS and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal.
    • Maintain copies of inspection reports and evidence related to any observed violations, and request a review of any potentially incorrect data using DataQs.

    Ensure compliance:

    • Review your inspection and violation history for the past two years. Identify patterns, trends, and areas that need improvement and address them now.
    • Examine your business processes to determine how they may be contributing to any safety compliance issues by using the Safety Management Cycle.
    • Make sure your drivers know that inspections are more important than ever, all violations count in the SMS, not just out-of-service violations, and that their performance impacts their Pre-Employment Screening Program records and the SMS record of the carrier they are working for.
    • Read over the FMCSA FAQs that help carriers improve compliance in general, as well as for each BASIC: Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator, Hours-of-Service Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Driver Fitness.

    Visit the CSA Website:

  • Those motor carriers that want multiple employees to access their Safety Measurement System (SMS) data can do so using a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Portal account. Motor carrier Portal accounts contain a link to the SMS data. To set up an FMCSA Portal account, do the following:

    • Go to the FMCSA Portal and follow the instructions to request an FMCSA Portal account.
    • The first user generates an account using the company's U.S. DOT PIN and designates himself or herself as the Portal administrator for that company.
    • Additional employees can then set up Portal accounts.
    • The company Portal administrator (from Step 2) can approve anyone from the company requesting an account.
    • All Portal users the administrator has approved will have access to the company's SMS data, but only the administrator can update the MCS-150 registration data.

    For additional assistance with FMCSA Portal accounts, please call the Help Desk at 800-832-5660.

  • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to prioritize companies for investigations.

    Potential onsite investigations include the following:

    • Onsite Focused Investigation – this intervention targets specific BASIC area(s) (e.g., Vehicle Maintenance), while Onsite Comprehensive Investigations address all aspects of the carrier's operation. Onsite focused investigations will not result in Satisfactory safety ratings because not all regulatory parts are examined. However, it is possible that an onsite focused investigation may result in no rating, or a Conditional or Unsatisfactory rating, in accordance with 49 CFR Part 385, App. B, if problems are discovered.
    • Onsite Comprehensive Investigation – this intervention addresses all aspects of the carrier’s operation. It may result in Satisfactory, Conditional or Unsatisfactory ratings, in accordance with 49 CFR Part 385, App. B.
  • This means that the carrier’s operating authority is not current for some reason. To find out additional information about this situation there are two things that can be done:

    1. Just above the note about operating authority are three sentences of text in box. The third sentence contains hyperlinks to the SAFER and Licensing and Insurance information for this carrier. Clicking on both hyperlinks will give additional information about what is going on with this carrier’s operating authority.
    2. To gain additional information on this situation including how to remedy the situation if you are the carrier whose authority is not current call (202) 385-2423 M-F 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM EST or (202) 385-2400 after hours and holidays to leave a message.
  • The ISS is not available to the public. A carrier can access its own ISS value by signing into the Portal or by logging in to the Safety Measurement System Website. A carrier can register on the Portal using its U.S. DOT Number and U.S. DOT PIN. For answers to questions about the Portal, contact compass@dot.gov or call 1-800-832-5660.

  • 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.

  • Higher percentile ranks could cause a motor carrier to enter, or remain, in the pool of carriers with BASICs that exceed the Intervention Thresholds. Carriers with percentiles above a certain Intervention Threshold and meeting minimum data sufficiency requirements in a BASIC can be deemed poor safety performers. These carriers will be prioritized for Compliance, Safety, Accountability interventions. Increased percentiles may make a carrier subject to more severe interventions.

  • 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 the SMS does not use it. If it has a suffix and it is not listed in the table below, the SMS does not use it.

    Section Violation Description Shown on Roadside Inspection Severity Weight
    Unsafe Driving BASIC:
    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 (After 1/1/11) 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 commercial motor vehicle while texting 10
    392.2T Improper turns 5
    392.2Y Failure to yield right-of-way 5
    Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC:
    392.2H State/Local HOS 7
    Vehicle Maintenance BASIC:
    392.2WC Wheel (mud) flaps missing or defective 1
  • Generally, CSA affects Mexican and Canadian carriers subject to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), carriers transporting passengers or cargo in interstate commerce, and carriers of hazardous materials in intrastate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has provided detailed answers to questions about the general applicability of the FMCSRs.

  • Noncompliant motor carriers may be subject to costly repairs, delays, and penalties, or may be ordered to stay off the road entirely. For additional information, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's “Safety is Good Business – Crashes Hurt Your Bottom Line.”

  • Motor carriers need a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-issued U.S. DOT Number and a U.S. DOT PIN (not a Docket PIN) to access the SMS Website. If you are experiencing difficulties, please review the information below before contacting the SMS web team for assistance.

    • If you don’t have a U.S. DOT Number:
      You cannot access the password-protected part of the SMS Website.
    • If you are a driver looking to see your own data:
      Driver data is not available through the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. To obtain a copy of your inspection and/or crash history data, visit the Pre-Employment Screening Program Website.
    • If you do not have a U.S. DOT PIN or don't know what it is:
      You can request one via https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and follow the instructions on the page. You can also call 800-832-5660 for assistance.
    • If you have a PIN, but it doesn't work:
      1. Make sure you are using your U.S. DOT PIN and not your Docket PIN. Only the U.S. DOT PIN will work on the SMS Website.
      2. Verify that you are typing in your PIN correctly. Often the problem is a typo or a misreading of one or more characters. For example, users sometimes mistake the letter “O” for the number “0” or the letter “l” for the number “1,” etc. Try all possible combinations before going to the next step.
      3. Ensure that no one else in your company has changed your PIN by requesting a new one.
      4. If the above options fail, then you should request a new U.S. DOT PIN via https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov/ and follow the instructions on the page.
    • If you need additional PIN assistance:
      Assistance with U.S. DOT PIN issues can be obtained by calling FMCSA technical support at 800-832-5660 during normal business hours.
  • There is no current plan to make the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category available for public viewing. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently examining crash data to see if weighting can be applied in a cost effective manner. Details about this research can be found here: http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/CrashWeightingResearchPlan_7-2012.pdf.

  • Selecting the arrow key next to the date of the penalty reveals the specific violation(s) associated with the penalty.

  • 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.

  • Carrier safety performance in the SMS is based upon the previous 24 months of on-road performance, inspection and crash data, and Acute and Critical Violations found during investigations over the last 12 months. Either on-road performance or investigation results can result in a carrier being identified for intervention.

    The SMS will stop identifying motor carriers for intervention when their Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranks are no longer above the Intervention Thresholds. There are three ways that this can happen:

    1. Inspections without violations at roadside demonstrate improved performance;
    2. Poor inspections will count less over time and eventually fall outside of the 24-month timeframe; and/or
    3. If the carrier goes a full year without a violation and its last inspection in a BASIC did not result in any violations. In the Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs, a carrier simply needs to go a year without an incident in these two BASICs.

    The SMS will stop flagging motor carriers based on Acute and Critical Violations one year after the Acute/Critical Violation was issued. Keep in mind that the SMS updates monthly, so this change will be reflected on the next SMS update after the one year timeframe has passed.

    Understanding the regulations and ensuring vehicles and drivers are safe today will help keep carriers off of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's radar tomorrow.

  • FMCSA's regulations can be found here. FMCSA’s A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety is also designed to assist motor carriers in understanding and complying with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

  • The following is a list of possible follow-on actions from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) investigations:

    • Notice of Violation (NOV) – A 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., a fine). It is also used in cases where the violation is immediately correctable and the level of, or desire for, cooperation is high. To avoid further intervention, including fines, the carrier must provide evidence of corrective action or initiate a successful challenge to the violation.
    • Notice of Claim (NOC) – A NOC is issued in cases where the regulatory violations are severe enough to warrant assessment and issuance of civil penalties.
    • Operations Out-of-Service (OOS) Order – An OOS order is issued by FMCSA requiring the carrier to cease all motor vehicle operations.
  • Carriers are evaluated only on inspections and crashes associated with their own U.S. DOT 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.

  • 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
    August 2017 Friday, 7/28/17 Week of 8/7/2017
    September 2017 Friday, 8/25/17 Week 9/4/2017
    October 2017 Friday, 9/29/17 Week of 10/9/17
    November 2017 Friday, 10/27/17 Week of 11/6/2017
    December 2017 Friday, 11/17/17 Week of 12/4/17
    January 2018 Friday, 12/29/17 Week of 1/8/18
  • FMCSA requires all entities under its jurisdiction to update their information through the MCS-150 biennial update every two years. You are required to provide this update every two years even if your company has not changed its information, has ceased interstate operations since the last update, or is no longer in business and you did not notify FMCSA.

    There are certain conditions that require updates within 30 days of a change, including changes to a carrier’s legal name, form of business, or address.

    More details are available at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/updating-your-registration.

  • 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.
  • 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 an “Acute/Critical Violation Found” icon when an investigation conducted within the previous 12 months resulted in the discovery of Acute and/or Critical Violations within a BASIC. Acute and Critical Violations are defined below.

    Acute Violations

    • 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).

    Critical Violations

    • 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 “Acute/Critical 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 Acute and Critical Violations.