FMCSA Implements Adjudication Rule

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The FMCSA yesterday implemented  to changes to the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).

The agency says the changes will: “allow the Agency to upload the results of associated adjudicated State citations for roadside inspection violation data. MCMIS will be modified to accept adjudication information concerning a citation associated with a violation that was dismissed or resulted in a finding of not guilty; resulted in a conviction of a different or lesser charge; or resulted in conviction of the original charge.”

The MCMIS data are then used in other FMCSA data systems, including the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) and the Safety Measurement System (SMS).

The FMCSA requires that states establish a program to ensure that records are accurate and timely.  DataQ is the FMCSA’s data correction system.

DataQ is a site that allows driver’s, carriers and the public to contest the accuracy of Federal and State crash, inspection and violation data in the FMCSA’s data systems.

When a dispute is filed through DataQ, the request is automatically forwarded to the appropriate Federal and State office’s for processing.

Previously, SafetyNet and MCMIS only record inspection and violation data from the initial inspection report. They do not contain a data filed that would all states to modify or change the file to reflect an adjudicated citation.  

It’s been a problem because the citation shows up in the carrier’s record at the agency but a subsequent dismissal of the citation by a court does not make it into the system.

The FMCSA has proposed a change to the MCMIS to address this problem.

In December’s Federal Register, the FMCSA said the change to MCMIS would include information on whether or not a citation was dismissed or if the driver was found not guilty.

If the violation has been overturned, it will be removed from the CSA database.

In addition, if the charge is reduced or changed in any way, that would also be reflected and a carrier’s or driver’s CSA/PSP score.

“FMCSA is revising the MCMIS database and creating a new data field to allow inclusion of adjudicated citation results associated with violations documented during an inspection. The results of adjudicated citations recorded in MCMIS will be reflected in FMCSA’s SMS and PSP,” the Federal Register stated.

*The following table indicates how the adjudication outcomes documented in MCMIS will impact the use of the cited violation in FMCSA’s SMS and PSP databases:

Result of adjudicated citation associated with a violation uploaded to MCMIS:Violation in SMS:Violation in PSP:
* SMS quantifies motor carrier performance in seven Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The SMS methodology, including a description of severity weights used in the methodology, is provided at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf.
(1) Convicted of original chargeRetain violationRetain violation.
(2) Not guilty/DismissedRemove violationRemove violation.
(3) Convicted of different chargeRetain AND indicate violation as “Resulted in conviction of a different charge”; SMS severity weight set to lowest value in BASIC*Retain AND indicate violation as “Resulted in conviction of a different charge”.

“The FMCSA emphasizes the importance of accurate information concerning traffic violations in addition to roadside inspection violations. The Agency will continue its work with the States to ensure that commercial learner’s permit (CLP) and commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who are found to have engaged in unsafe driving behaviors are not provided with relief from the consequences of these unsafe actions through masking of their convictions by the States. Masking convictions allows commercial drivers to accumulate multiple serious traffic safety violations without the driver’s State of licensure or other States being aware of the driver’s actual driving history,” the Register states.

*From FMCSA