Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the "Public Participation" heading under the
Comments regarding the improvements outlined in this Notice were originally collected under Docket Identification Number FMCSA-2012-0074. To avoid confusion and ensure consistency, FMCSA is moving to a single CSA docket. FMCSA's CSA docket (FMCSA-2004-18898) will remain open to accept comments on the SMS methodology, and will remain open when the improvements outlined in this notice become operational in December.
If you submit a comment, please include docket number FMCSA-2004-18898. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding your submission.
To submit your comments online, go to
FMCSA will consider all comments and material received and may undertake future modifications of SMS based on your comments.
To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to
All comments received will be posted without change to
FMCSA's enforcement and compliance programs are making America's roads safer. CSA is FMCSA's new enforcement and compliance program and has been operational since December 2010. An overview of CSA is available in the March 27, 2012,
SMS uses all available inspection and crash data to prioritize carriers for interventions. SMS quantifies on-road safety performance of carriers to identify the specific safety problems the carrier exhibits and to monitor whether performance is improving or worsening. SMS helps FMCSA more efficiently apply its resources and to bring carriers and drivers into compliance with Federal safety regulations and prevent crashes, saving lives.
The Agency has found that SMS is an effective tool for identifying those carriers with future safety and compliance issues. For example, the SMS has sufficient data to assess 200,000 of the 525,000 active carriers in FMCSA's data systems in a BASIC. Those 200,000 carriers are involved in 92% of the crashes reported to FMCSA. Both FMCSA and an independent evaluator, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (
FMCSA's CSA Web site (
• Informational factsheets on various aspects of CSA, including SMS;
• Presentations used to deliver information to the industry regarding CSA in general and the SMS methodology;
• The operational version of the SMS Methodology along with the proposed version released in March 2012;
• Various studies conducted on SMS's effectiveness; among other educational resources.
FMCSA is continuously listening to stakeholder feedback and researching and analyzing ways to improve its programs. The SMS changes proposed in March reflect that work. FMCSA is committed to a thoughtful, methodical, and transparent process to ensure that the SMS continues to support the Agency's critical safety mission.
In total, the SMS changes being implemented in December more effectively identify and prioritize motor carriers for intervention to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes and HM incidents. Motor carriers identified as exceeding the intervention threshold in any BASIC under the revised methodology have a 3.9% greater future crash rate and 3.6% greater future HM violation rate than those previously identified for intervention using the existing SMS methodology. Details regarding this analysis of motor carriers exceeding the intervention thresholds as well as high risk motor carrier identification is posted on the CSA Web site at (
FMCSA provided detailed descriptions of the following planned changes to the SMS in a
• Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by incorporating cargo/load securement violations from today's Cargo-Related BASIC;
• Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Hazardous Materials (HM) BASIC to better identify HM-related safety and compliance problems;
• Better aligning the SMS with Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) regulations;
• Aligning violations that are included in the SMS with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection levels by eliminating vehicle violations derived from driver-only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections;
• More accurately identifying carriers that transport significant quantities of HM; and
• More accurately identifying carriers involved in transporting passengers.
In addition, FMCSA described changes to the display of information on the SMS Web site (
• Change current terminology, including the terms “Insufficient Data” and “Inconclusive,” to fact-based definitions that clarify the carrier's status in each BASIC; and
• Distinguish between crashes with injuries and crashes with fatalities.
FMCSA is implementing the above-mentioned changes to SMS in December 2012, with two notable modifications. First, in response to public comments expressing concern about the HM BASIC, it will not be made available to the public for one year. Instead, only motor carriers and law enforcement personnel that log into FMCSA systems will be able to view percentile ranks in the HM BASIC. This one year time period will allow the Agency to further study and refine the BASIC prior to making it available to the public. Second, the HM BASIC will be named the HM Compliance BASIC.
In addition to the changes outlined above, FMCSA is providing notice of four more changes based on careful consideration of comments received and stakeholder feedback. In short, the Agency is proposing these changes: to remove speeding violations that are 1 to 5 miles per hour (mph) over the speed limit; to lower the severity weight from 5 to 1 for speeding violations that do not designate MPH range above the speed limit; to make the severity weights associated with electronic and paper logbook violations the same; and to change the name of the Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service (HOS)) BASIC to the Hours-of-Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC. Comments to these additional changes can be made to the original CSA docket (FMCSA-2004-18898). Users of the SMS Preview Web site should be aware the four additional changes will not be incorporated in the SMS Preview Web site and will become visible upon going operational in December.
In the current SMS, the Unsafe Driving BASIC uses all speeding violations regardless of the range exceeding the speed limit. FMCSA is removing commercial motor vehicle speeding violations in the 1 to 5 mph over the speed limit range from SMS. Current speedometer regulations (49 CFR 393.82) only require accuracy within 5 mph. This change therefore aligns SMS with the regulatory requirement. Once implemented, the Unsafe Driving BASIC will not include any speeding violations that fall into the 1 to 5 mph over the speed limit range regardless of when the inspection occurred. This change applies to the prior 24 months of data used by SMS and all SMS data moving forward.
In the current SMS, the Unsafe Driving BASIC applies a severity weight of 5 to general speeding violations that do not specify the range exceeding the speed limit. FMCSA is reducing the severity weight for general speeding violations (49 CFR 392.2S) to 1 for those violations occurring on or after January 1, 2011. This is the date when inspectors had access to updated roadside inspection software, ASPEN, to record violations broken out by mile per hour categories above the speed limit. After the changes are implemented in December, the following severity weights will apply to recorded speeding violations:
In the current SMS, hours-of-service form and manner violations have different weights for paper (weight of 2) and electronic form and manner logbook (weight of 1) violations. FMCSA is now equally weighting paper and electronic logbook form and manner violations with a severity weight of 1 for consistency purposes. In addition, the current SMS assigns a severity weight of 5 to paper log violations having to do with a driver not having a log book but only a severity weight of 1 for similar violations of electronic logbooks. With these changes, all violations related to not having a logbook, electronic or paper, will have a severity weight of 5.
Upon careful review of comments concerning the proposed SMS changes and stakeholder feedback, FMCSA is changing the name of the Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC to the Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance BASIC. This action is being taken to reflect that the BASIC includes violations such as “form and manner” and “logbook not current” that, by themselves, do not necessarily indicate fatigued driving or driving in excess of allowable hours.
The Agency received 118 unique comment submissions to the March notice, mostly from drivers, carriers, and industry associations. Of the 118 submissions, no single topic drew responses from a majority of the commenters and many of the submissions addressed more than one topic. Below is a synopsis of the comments received and the Agency's responses.
Several commenters, including OOIDA, Bison Transport, Inc. and Q-Line Trucking, proposed that cargo/load securement violations should be compared by group—flatbed or open trailer—not all together in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) supports the proposed enhancement but suggested changing the name of the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC to reflect the additional violations being included.
By moving load securement violations to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC and recalibrating the severity weights, FMCSA has mitigated the known bias created by information system limitations; ensured that the carriers with a pattern of load securement violations are still identified; and strengthened the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by improving the identification of carriers with the highest future crash rates.
In addition, the FMCSA has determined that the Unsafe Driving BASIC is not an appropriate place to house the cargo securement violations. The Vehicle Maintenance BASIC is focused on the physical condition of the vehicle, of which the cargo is a part, whereas the Unsafe Driving BASIC is focused on how the vehicle is being driven (e.g. improper lane change, speeding). Further, the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC is normalized by number of inspections, whereas the Unsafe Driving BASIC is normalized by on-road exposure measured by Power Units (PU) and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT). The Agency continues to believe that the number of inspections is a more appropriate normalization factor for cargo securement violations, and, therefore, will include the cargo securement violations in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. The Agency does not plan to change the name of the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC with this set of enhancements.
FMCSA acknowledges there would be advantages to comparing cargo/load securement violations by group, e.g. flatbed or open trailer. However, at this time FMCSA does not have access to reliable, consistent data to allow us to make these determinations.
The first step in the development of the HM Compliance BASIC was an examination of carrier and shipper violations to make a determination of which violations should be accountable to the carrier. The Agency, including subject matter experts, determined that the violations outlined in Appendix A of the SMS Methodology are to be included in the HM Compliance BASIC
The intervention threshold in this BASIC will be set at 80% for all carriers. Analysis done on the effectiveness of this BASIC shows that carriers above the intervention threshold have future HM violation rates more than 15% higher than carriers above the threshold in the current Cargo-Securement BASIC.
However, in consideration of the comments related to the HM Compliance BASIC FMCSA will refrain from displaying this BASIC to the public until December 2013. During this time, the HM Compliance BASIC will be utilized as an enforcement prioritization tool, and its effectiveness in identifying non-compliant HM carriers will be further analyzed.
The Agency recognizes that different carriers haul various quantities of HM. Therefore, the Agency plans to display the percentage of HM placardable inspections for a carrier to provide context to inspections and violations displayed on SMS.
Analysis conducted on the HM Compliance BASIC indicates that the motor carriers over the 80th percentile intervention threshold in this BASIC had slightly fewer inspections where a placardable quantity of HM was on board, but more HM inspections with violations, which means it better identifies the carriers in non-compliance. A detailed description of this analysis is also available on the CSA Web site at
By implementing the HM Compliance BASIC for enforcement purposes, carriers that are not in compliance by properly packaging, transporting, accurately identifying, and communicating hazardous cargo in the event of a crash or spill are being identified.
Each BASIC measures a different area of performance and compliance. Substantial compliance and good performance in the other BASICs does not necessarily translate into proper safety management practices and compliance with the HM Regulations. Therefore, it is possible for a carrier to have strong safety management practices in all other BASICs, while demonstrating poor performance in the HM Compliance BASIC. However, FMCSA analysis indicates that nearly half of the motor carriers above the 80th percentile intervention threshold in the HM BASIC are also above threshold in at least one other BASIC.
Under 49 CFR Part 390.40, when a motor carrier's driver agrees to haul equipment from an IEP, the driver is required to determine if the IEP trailer is in safe condition. With this change implemented, those violations that should be found during pre-trip inspections will be included in a motor carrier's SMS in order to better identify carriers with compliance issues.
IEPs are not included in the SMS because they have different operations than a motor carrier, and it would not be accurate to compare them to motor carrier operations in SMS. FMCSA may consider a measurement system for IEPs in the future. Therefore, violation data collected during inspections performed today, may eventually be used in a measurement system for IEPs.
A description of what is examined for each inspection level is described on the FMCSA Web site:
• Any violation may be cited on a level 1, 2, 4 or 6 inspection
• Level 3 (driver-only) inspections only include driver violations, which are those violations that are included in the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (HOS) (being renamed HOS Compliance), and Driver Fitness BASICs
• Level 5 (vehicle-only) inspections only include the violations associated with Vehicle Maintenance, current Cargo-Related (changing to HM Compliance) BASICs
These violations, by BASIC, can be found in the Version 3.0 SMS Methodology document, Appendix A
The definition of carriers subject to the lower HM Intervention threshold is being revised in December to ensure the carriers are hauling a sizeable amount of HM placardable quantities before being subject to the more stringent intervention thresholds. Under the new criteria, a motor carrier will be subject to the lower HM intervention thresholds when they have:
1. At least two inspections on a vehicle transporting HM requiring placards, within the past 24 months, with one inspection occurring within the past 12 months; and
2. At least five percent of the motor carrier's total inspections involve a vehicle transporting HM requiring placards; OR
3. An FMCSA HM safety permit.
FMCSA had originally proposed to also subject carriers to the lower HM intervention thresholds if an investigation within the last 24 months had identified them as a carrier that transported placarded quantities.
FMCSA analysis indicates that prior crashes, regardless of a carrier's role in a crash, are a good predictor of future crash involvement. Therefore, FMCSA continues to use the Crash Indicator for internal prioritization purposes, while continuing to hide the percentile from public view. However, FMCSA recognizes that additional crash data might further sharpen the ability of the SMS to identify carriers that pose the highest risk. Accordingly, on July 23, 2012, the Agency announced it is conducting a comprehensive analysis to identify a process for determining a carrier's role in a crash and including that determination in the SMS. More information on this issue is available at
Some commenters, including ATA and Schneider National, agree with providing a preview for carriers to understand how proposed changes will affect their SMS percentiles and to address any safety issues that may be identified before the changes go public. OOIDA and the Alliance for Safe, Efficient, and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT) believe that the creation of and any changes to SMS need to go through a notice and comment rulemaking under 49 U.S.C. 31144(b).
The Agency is, however, developing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would propose the use of SMS data in making safety fitness determinations. The NPRM will solicit comments on this particular issue.
In order to ensure transparency in the development and enhancements of SMS, the Agency plans to issue changes at periodic intervals and to provide enforcement personnel and carriers the opportunity to preview the changes prior to implementation. FMCSA will continue to seek comments and consider them before completing implementation of changes.
FMCSA received many comments about aspects of the CSA program that did not concern the proposed changes to SMS and are therefore beyond the scope of this notice. These topics include, among other things, the general status of CSA, the correlation between BASIC scores and future crash risk, a perception of effects on small businesses, the Utilization Factor (UF) that gives carrier credit for the extra exposure that results from making high utilization of trucks, training of enforcement officers, violation weightings, the Driver SMS (DSMS),
While these topics are beyond the scope of this notice, FMCSA intends to respond to these comments through the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on FMCSA's Web site. FMCSA will provide also these topics to the MCSAC subcommittee that will provide the Agency recommendations on CSA for their consideration.
Changes outlined in this notice will be implemented in December 2012.
As mentioned throughout this notice, FMCSA plans to periodically develop enhancements to SMS, make them available for preview to law enforcement and motor carriers, and collect comments. The next set of packaged enhancements is under development. The Agency is examining the following: comprehensive modifications to roadside violation severity weights, recalibration of the Utilization Factor used to incorporate VMT for the Crash Indicator and Unsafe Driving BASIC, and adjustments to safety event groups in all BASICs.