On Feb. 15, 2023, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a notice of proposed safety management system (SMS) changes. The notice also requests comments and input on the FMCSA’s system to identify motor carriers for safety interventions.
This proposal does not impose any new obligations on motor carriers or drivers. However, carriers and drivers should become familiar with the proposal to gain insight into the FMCSA’s priorities and submit any pertinent comments to the agency by May 16, 2023.
In December 2010, the FMCSA implemented the SMS to identify high-risk motor carriers for investigations. The SMS reviews a minimum of four months of motor carrier performance data to identify the highest-risk carriers. The SMS then assigns carrier prioritization status in each Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) based on the carrier’s on-road performance or investigation results.
In addition, SMS provides motor carriers and other stakeholders with updated monthly safety performance data. To complete this analysis and appraisal, the SMS quantifies motor carriers’ safety performance using data from the FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).
Proposed SMS Changes
The FMCSA conducted analyses that revealed areas where the SMS could be improved to identify high-risk carriers for intervention more effectively. As a result, the FMCSA is proposing the following combined improvements to the SMS:
- Reorganizing and updating safety categories, including new segmentation;
- Consolidating violations;
- Simplifying violation severity weights;
- Using proportionate percentiles instead of safety event groups;
- Improving intervention thresholds;
- Increasing focus on recent violations; and
- Updating the utilization factor.
The proposed changes aim to better identify the companies needing the most intervention and to help companies better understand how to use this data to influence safer behaviors.
A new website, the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) Prioritization Preview, has been launched, allowing motor carriers to preview how their data would appear under the proposed changes. The FMCSA has said it is committed to enhancing the fairness, accuracy and clarity of their prioritization system and encourages companies to provide feedback on the proposed changes at the Federal Register website.
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