Proposed Changes to FMCSA Safety Measurement System

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration created its Safety Measurement System as a means of assessing carriers for their potential for operating safely or not safely. Carriers have been rated under the system according to the agency’s Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). It was designed and enforced to identify carriers with low safety ratings with high risk of crashes.

The purpose was to identify high risk carriers and investigate and intervene in their operations in an effort to reduce crashes and improve highway safety. Under the proposed changes, BASICs would be reorganized into safety categories, essentially moving beyond BASICs and within Safety Measurement System (SMS). The intention is to make the identification of high-risk carriers easier to recognize their safety difficulties and enable those carriers to address their issues.

 
FMCSA also proposes reorganizing the Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Unsafe Driving, and Vehicle Maintenance safety categories. The proposed new safety categories are:
 
  1. Unsafe Driving
  2. Crash Indicator
  3.  Hours of Service Compliance
  4. Vehicle Maintenance
  5. Vehicle Maintenance: Driver Observed
  6. Hazardous Materials Compliance
  7. Driver Fitness
 
The new Driver Fitness category will now also hold violations of the Controlled Substances/Alcohol BASIC, and operating while under an Out of Service (OOS) violations, be it an OOS for a maintenance issue or HOS, both violations belong in the Driver Fitness category as Well. FMCSA feels the new Driver Fitness category will more accurately identify high risk carriers for intervention to help those carriers in knowing what issues they need to address to improve, whereas under BASICs there would be a risk of some carriers falling through the cracks.

By splitting Vehicle Maintenance into two categories, it will reveal more carriers with more crashes for intervention. FMCSA plans to separate Driver Fitness and HM categories to more accurately reveal safety issues experienced by each operation type in order to enable them to achieve greater safety.

Separating the Driver Fitness BASIC into straight vehicles and combination vehicles based on their operation type because straight vehicles show higher risk of crashes than combination vehicles under BASICS, but segmentation more accurately identifies high risk carriers in each segment.

The focus of the proposed changes is increasing safety in trucking that will undoubtedly save the lives of many motorists. FMCSA is accepting comments from carriers pertaining to the proposed changes. To read the entire proposed changes go to Federal Register :: Revised Carrier Safety Measurement System. It includes directions for submitting your comments.
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