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FMCSA Releases Planned Improvements to SMS


On Monday, March 26, 2012, the FMCSA published its planned improvements to the Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS), which was implemented in December 2010.

Motor carriers and law enforcement  will be able to preview the improvements on March 27, while the public will have access to it in July 2012.

According to the FMCSA, “The changes more effectively identify and prioritize high-risk and other unsafe motor carriers for enforcement interventions designed to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes and hazardous materials incidents.”

“We know the SMS isn’t perfect and we designed ti so that it can be improved ver time, ” FMCSA Bryan Price said at this year’s MATS. “What we want to do is give carriers an opportunity, for several months, to see how the changes impact your particular company and give us comments if something doesn’t work.”

According the the FMCSA, these improvements include:

1. Changes to the SMS methodology that identify higher risk carriers while addressing industry biases

2. Better applications of SMS results for Agency interventions by more accurately identifying safety sensitive carriers (i.e.,carriers transporting people and carriers hauling hazardous materials (HM)), so that such firms can be selected for CSA interventions at more stringent levels; and,

3. More specific fact-based displays of SMS results on the SMS Web site.

4. Eliminate the use of the terms Inconclusive and Insufficient Data and Distinguish Crash Data

5. Eliminate vehicle violations from driver-only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections.

6.Apply Carrier-based Violations on Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) Trailers to the Vehicle BASIC

If defects are found during the pre-trip inspection, the driver has the opportunity to alert the IEP of such defects. The IEP, in turn, is required to either repair the defect or replace the equipment prior to the driver’s departure. Violations that should have been detected during a pre-trip inspection but are later found during a roadside inspection become the responsibility of the motor carrier and thus should be applied in SMS.

7.Incorporate Cargo/Load Securement Violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC

This statement comes after the American Trucking Association expressed its concerns over the CSA guidelines that hold truckers responsible for “no-fault” accidents, however there is no mention of the no-fault, or always the driver’s fault, crash regulations.

We will continue to bring you any news regarding FMCSA regulations.  If you would like to contact the FMCSA, or share your concerns or comments with them, mail your correspondence to:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administraion

Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave SE

Washington, DC 20590




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