FMCSA Announces Proposed Improvements to Its Safety Measurement System to Prevent Crashes

Original article published by FMCSA

WASHINGTON – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced proposed changes to its Safety Measurement System (SMS) to reduce and prevent crashes. The SMS uses data from roadside inspections, crash reports, and investigations to identify and prioritize for intervention the motor carriers that pose the greatest risk to safety. As part of FMCSA’s commitment to continually improve how the Agency uses data to focus enforcement, these proposed changes aim to better identify the companies needing the most intervention, and also will help companies better understand how to use this data to influence safer behaviors.

“Safety is FMCSA’s core mission. The proposed changes are part of the Agency’s continued commitment to enhancing the fairness, accuracy, and clarity of our prioritization system,” said FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson.

Some of the proposed changes include reorganizing the SMS’s safety categories (currently known as “BASICs”); organizing roadside violations into violation groups for prioritization purposes; simplifying violation severity weights; adjusting some of the Intervention Thresholds that identify companies for possible intervention; and more changes aimed at comparing similar motor carriers to each other.

A new website, the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Prioritization Preview, which is now live, is the first phase of planned updates to the Agency’s SMS. Motor carriers can visit the website to preview how their data would appear under the proposed changes. Companies are encouraged to preview these results and submit feedback on the proposed changes to FMCSA at the Federal Register website. Other users will be able to view sample pages.

FMCSA strongly encourages stakeholders to participate in the preview and submit their comments to the public docket.

The proposed changes to the Agency’s SMS are explained in a Federal Register notice (2023-02947). Feedback on the proposed changes must be submitted to the Federal Docket Management System (https://www.regulations.gov/), Docket ID Number: FMCSA-2022-0066. The 90-day comment period will begin on February 15, 2023 and are due by May 16, 2023. FMCSA will hold four public online question and answer webinars, during which participants will be able to ask questions about the preview and proposed changes and receive real-time answers, time permitting. Registration is required. Visit the CSA Prioritization Preview website for more information.


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FMCSA makes Crash Preventability Determination Program permanent

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Photo: PeteMuller/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has made permanent and expanded a program designed to determine to what extent commercial motor vehicle crashes are preventable, according to a notice published in the May 6 Federal Register.

After weighing stakeholder feedback on an August proposed rule that sought to continue FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Determination Program, the agency is removing “not preventable” crashes as a classification under the Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category of its Safety Measurement System website.

FMCSA also is allowing motor carriers and drivers to submit requests for data review for eligible crashes occurring on or after Aug. 1, 2019. Requests must include police accident reports and may contain supporting documents, photos and videos “to present compelling evidence that the crash is eligible and not preventable,” the notice states. Crashes are classified under 16 types:

  • Struck in rear
  • Legally stopped or parked
  • Suicides or suicide attempts
  • Wrong direction
  • Animal strikes
  • Individuals under the influence
  • Infrastructure failure or struck by cargo, equipment or debris
  • Struck on the side in the rear
  • Struck by a vehicle that didn’t stop or slow in traffic
  • Struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at a traffic control device
  • Struck by a vehicle that was making a U-turn or an illegal turn
  • Struck by a driver who experiences a medical issue that caused the crash
  • Struck by a driver who admits to falling asleep or driving distracted
  • Involves an individual under the influence, even if the CMV was struck by another vehicle involved in the crash
  • Involves a driver operating in the wrong direction, even if the CMV was struck by another vehicle involved in the crash
  • Rare or unusual crash

“If the crash is not eligible under the crash type for which it was submitted, FMCSA will move the crash to an eligible crash type, if one exists,” the agency states. “However, if the crash does not meet one of the eligible crash types, the [request for data review] will be closed.”

FMCSA further states that crashes found to be “not preventable” won’t be used when calculating the carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC measure or percentile. The agency uses this data “to prioritize carriers for safety intervention.”

As part of preliminary research for its proposed rule, FMCSA reviewed – from Aug. 1, 2017, to approximately Jan. 30, 2019 – more than 5,600 crash data submissions from commercial truck and bus companies under the program. According to an Aug. 5 agency press release, FMCSA found that about 94% of the crashes reviewed during the first 18 months of the initial 24-month duration of the program were considered not preventable by the motor carrier or CMV driver.

Speaking to Transport Topic in a May 1 report, American Trucking Associations Vice President of Safety Policy Dan Horvath said ATA was “happy to see a permanent program come to fruition” and would “continue to work with FMCSA to encourage further improvements.”

FMCSA Launches Motor Carrier Safety Planner, Updates SMS Website

FMCSA recently launched the Motor Carrier Safety Planner, a new online guide to help large truck and bus companies better understand and comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The safety planner provides plain-language summaries of safety regulations along with sample forms and templates.

Visit the Motor Carrier Safety Planner site to watch video tutorials and learn how to build your personalized planner today.

FMCSA has updated the CSA SMS Website with the January 25, 2019 results.

Motor carriers participating in FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program will continue to see the Agency’s final determinations on SMS for crashes reviewed as part of the program. Logged-in carriers and enforcement users with crashes determined to be Not Preventable as part of the program can view measures and percentiles calculated with and without those crashes.