FMCSA Is Adding To Severity Weights

FMCSA Is Adding To Severity WeightsEffective July 20, the FMCSA has added two new enhancements to the roadside inspection system, or ASPEN.  The enhancements are designed to improve upon the Safety Management System (SMS).

SMS uses roadside checks, as well as crash data to prioritize or rate drivers and carriers safety records.

“The FMCSA said the action was in response to stakeholder feedback that indicated that some commercial driver violations in SMS are a result of license suspensions for non-safety related reasons, such as failing to pay a parking ticket,” The Trucker reported.

Prospective employers often do not see such suspensions on background checks or driving records.

“The refinement to ASPEN will collect more precise data about drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV) while disqualified to improve the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant and unsafe motor carriers,” The Trucker reported.

The enhancement will allow roadside inspectors to classify disqualified driver violations into different categories depending on whether the driver’s license is:

1. Suspended by the driver’s license-issuing state or another state; and

2. Suspended for a safety-related (e.g., speeding or false logs violations) or non-safety related (e.g., failure to pay parking tickets) reason.

The severity weight for any violation of 383.51 (a) — Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified — was eight.

Under the enhancements severity weights of violations of 383.51 (a) include:

• Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (safety/state of record) (8)

• Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (safety/not state of record) (5)

• Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (non-safety/state of record) (5)

• Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (non-safety/not state of record) (1)

“This additional data will strengthen the effectiveness and accuracy of the Driver Fitness Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) of the SMS,” the FMCSA said in a news release. “More importantly, it will hold motor carriers accountable for using a driver with a license that has been suspended for safety-related reasons by the driver’s license-issuing state.”