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Agency Response to Public Comments of Safety Measurement System Changes

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking American Government

Agency Response to Public Comments of Safety Measurement System Changes

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
August 28, 2012

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 167 (Tuesday, August 28, 2012)]
[Pages 52110-52116]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21196]



Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2004-18898]

Agency Response to Public Comments of Safety Measurement System 

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, DOT.

ACTION: Notice; response to comments.


SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces changes to the Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS). A 
preview of the original improvements became available to motor carriers 
and law enforcement on March 27, 2012, and will remain available until 
the SMS changes become operational. The SMS improvements are now 
scheduled to be operational in December 2012. Comments to the preview 
were reviewed and considered. This notice explains the Agency's 
modifications to the changes announced in March and describes four 
additional changes that will be implemented in December.

DATES: These improvements are scheduled to be operational in December 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2004-18898 by any of the following 
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, (M-30), U.S. Department 
of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, 
Ground Floor, Room 12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The 
telephone number is 202-366-9329.
    To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. 
See the ``Public Participation'' heading under the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section for instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bryan Price, Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1300, Pittsburgh, PA 
15222, Telephone 412-395-4816, E-Mail: bryan.price@dot.gov. If you have 
questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee 
V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

[[Page 52111]]


Public Participation

    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 

Submitting Comments

    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 http://www.regulations.gov, 
enter ``FMCSA-2004-18898'' in the ``Search'' box, and click ``Search''. 
If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an 
unbound format, no larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for 
copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would 
like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, 
self-addressed postcard or envelope.
    FMCSA will consider all comments and material received and may 
undertake future modifications of SMS based on your comments.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble 
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
in the ``Search'' box, enter ``FMCSA-2004-18898'', and click 
``Search''. A list of documents will appear; click on the hyperlinks to 
view public submissions and Agency-provided materials. If you do not 
have access to the Internet, you may view the docket online by visiting 
the Docket Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of 
the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 
20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

Privacy Act

    All comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov and will include any personal information you have 
provided. Anyone is able to search the electronic forum for all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.


    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, Federal Register Notice (77 FR 18298). 
With rollout of CSA, commercial motor vehicle safety awareness is at an 
all-time high with 30,000,000 visits to the Agency's SMS Web site in 
its first year of operation. FMCSA has leveraged its programs to 
communicate with the industry about safety and compliance, resulting in 
the most dramatic drop in safety violations in a decade. In 2011, 
violations per roadside inspection were down by 8%, and driver 
violations per inspection were down by 10%.
    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 (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/Evaluation-of-the-CSA-Op-Model-Test.pdf), have confirmed that SMS is an effective 
tool in identifying the high risk motor carriers and a significant 
improvement over the previous SafeStat system.
    FMCSA's CSA Web site (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov) is a resource that 
was created for all stakeholders to gain a better understanding of CSA 
in general, including SMS. This Web site offers many educational items 
     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.

The original FR Notice posted in March 2012 also includes detailed 
information about SMS.
    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 (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_FoundationalDoc_Final.pdf

Proposed SMS Changes From March 2012 Federal Register Notice

    FMCSA provided detailed descriptions of the following planned 
changes to the SMS in a Federal Register Notice published on March 27, 
2012 (77 FR 18298) and in a summary and analysis document posted on the 
CSA Web site (http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_FoundationalDoc_Final.pdf); these changes have been available for carriers and law 
enforcement to preview since that date and included the following:

[[Page 52112]]

     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 (http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms/). Specifically, FMCSA 
provided notice of its plan to modify the SMS Web site display to:
     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 

SMS Changes To Be Implemented

    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.

Additional Changes

    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.

Removal of 1 to 5 MPH Speeding Violations

    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.

Lowered Severity Weight for Speeding Violations That Do Not Designate 
MPH Range Above the Speed Limit

    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:

 Specified MPH range above speed limit      Violation severity weight
Not specified.........................  1.*
                                        For all recorded violations with
                                         an unspecified range above the
                                         speed limit occurring after
                                         January 1, 2011.
1-5...................................  0
6-10..................................  4
11-14.................................  7
15+...................................  10

Alignment of Paper and Electronic Logbook 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.

Name Change of the Fatigued Driving (HOS) BASIC to the HOS Compliance 

    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.

Response to Docket Comments on ``Improvements to the Compliance, 
Safety, Accountability (CSA) Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System 

    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 

Strengthen the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by moving cargo/load 
securement violations from the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Vehicle 
Maintenance BASIC

    Comments: Several commenters, such as Bison Transport, Inc, Q-Line 
Trucking, the Western Trucking Alliance, Vigillo, LLC, the Owner-
Operator Independent Driver

[[Page 52113]]

Association (OOIDA), and B-H Transfer commented that cargo/load 
securement violations do not belong in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. 
Some of those commenters, such as Bison Transport, proposed that the 
Unsafe Driving BASIC would be more suitable, because the driver bears 
primary responsibility for such violations. Some commenters, such as 
Vigillo, are concerned that cargo/load securement violations would not 
receive enough emphasis in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. Some 
commenters are of the opinion that cargo/load securement violations 
will still receive too much emphasis. Others, like Q-Line Trucking, are 
concerned that moving the violations to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC 
would transfer the flat-bed bias to that BASIC instead of addressing 
the bias directly.
    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.
    Agency Response: FMCSA analysis indicates the proposed approach of 
moving cargo/load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance 
BASIC identifies carriers with a higher future crash risk while at the 
same time effectively addressing the bias associated with carriers that 
haul open trailers. A detailed description of this analysis, and the 
issue associated with motor carriers that primarily transport open 
trailers, is posted on the CSA Web site at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_FoundationalDoc_Final.pdf.
    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.

Rename the Cargo-Related BASIC the HM Compliance BASIC

    Comments: Many commenters believe the HM Compliance BASIC should 
not be implemented as described. Commenters, such as Schneider 
National, expressed that HM violations are paperwork violations that do 
not correlate with crash risk or severity. Commenters such as Vigillo 
feel that carriers hauling HM infrequently would be disproportionately 
affected by the existence of an HM Compliance BASIC, regardless of 
their overall safety. Some commenters, including Con-way Freight, 
suggested separating out different types of HM operations or adjusting 
severity weights for HM violations by bulk versus non-bulk. Schneider 
National's comments suggest removing shipper violations from SMS.
    Agency Response: The Agency strongly disagrees with the assertion 
that HM regulations are solely paperwork violations. The basis for the 
HM Regulations is twofold--to contain HM for the protection of life and 
property, and to communicate the inherent risks of hazardous materials 
to emergency responders when released. While violations of shipping 
papers and placards do not cause crashes, the absence of them during 
mitigation of a crash where HM is present can result in injury or death 
to emergency responders and the public. FMCSA has the mandate to 
enforce the HM Regulations as they pertain to transportation by 
highway, and the HM Compliance BASIC provides the Agency with the tools 
needed to identify trends in non-compliance.
    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 http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_Methodology_Carrier_V3-0.pdf. However, based on feedback received 
during the preview period, three of the violations listed in Appendix A 
of the preview methodology will not be included when HM BASIC goes 
operational in December on the basis that they are administrative, 
rather than safety based. The three violations that will not be 
included are: 49 CFR 107.601 Failing to register with PHMSA prior to 
transporting hazardous materials requiring HM registration; 49 CFR 
107.620(b) No copy of US DOT Hazardous Materials Registration Number; 
and 49 CFR 397.3AU Failing to comply with Alliance for Uniform HM 
Registration requirements.
    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 
    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 

[[Page 52114]]

    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.

Better Align SMS With IEP Regulations

    Comments: Many of the commenters that addressed this change, such 
as Western Trucking Alliance, OOIDA, and Werner Enterprises, support 
implementation. However, some commenters, including ATA, are concerned 
that attributing violations to a motor carrier that should be found 
during a pre-trip inspection, is not effective in holding IEPs 
accountable for maintaining their trailers with continuous maintenance 
    Agency Response: In December 2008, FMCSA adopted regulations to 
require IEPs to: register and file with FMCSA an IEP Identification 
Report (Form MCS-150C); establish a systematic inspection, repair, and 
maintenance program to assure the safe operating condition of each 
intermodal chassis; maintain documentation of their maintenance 
program; and provide a means to effectively respond to driver and motor 
carrier reports about intermodal chassis mechanical defects and 
deficiencies (73 FR 76794 and amended with 74 FR 68703). Roadability 
reviews are conducted to ensure compliance with this rule. Although 
FMCSA will not assign a safety rating to an IEP as a result of a 
roadability review, it will cite the IEP for violations found and may 
impose civil penalties.
    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.

Align Violations That Are Included in SMS With the CVSA Inspection 
Levels by Eliminating the Vehicle Violations Derived From Driver-Only 
Inspections and Driver Violations From Vehicle-Only Inspections

    Comments: Many commenters, such as ATA and FedEx, agreed with this 
change. OOIDA asked that a list of violations associated with specific 
inspection levels be made public. A few commenters from the safety 
advocacy community, including Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, 
strongly opposed removing any identified violations from a carrier's 
    Agency Response: In the current SMS, a BASIC measure is calculated 
by dividing the number of applicable violations by the number of 
relevant inspections. A relevant inspection is one where either (a) a 
relevant violation was found, or (b) the inspection level requires an 
examination of areas that could reveal a violation in the BASIC. 
Without the change, vehicle violations found from driver-only 
inspections would be counted in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC, without 
giving credit in that BASIC for clean driver-only inspections. By 
aligning the violations used in SMS calculations with CVSA inspection 
levels, carriers will be measured using only violations that are 
included in appropriate inspections without being penalized for 
violations cited outside the scope of the inspection. This change 
reinforces that inspectors should report violations within the scope of 
the level of inspections they are certified to perform. It is also 
important to note that though these violations will not be included in 
the SMS BASIC measure calculations, the violations will still appear on 
the inspection report, and, therefore, will still be on the carrier's 
    A description of what is examined for each inspection level is 
described on the FMCSA Web site: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/safety-initiatives/mcsap/insplevels.htm.
     Any violation may be cited on a level 1, 2, 4 or 6 
     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 https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMS_Methodology_Carrier_V3-0.pdf/.

More Accurately Identify Carriers That Transport Significant Quantities 
of HM

    Comments: Schneider National and FedEx wanted the Agency to 
implement either the HM Compliance BASIC or the HM threshold, but not 
both. In one of its comments, Con-Way suggested that the HM 
Intervention threshold should apply to HM Safety Permit carriers only.
    Agency Response: The HM Compliance BASIC and the HM Intervention 
threshold are two separate concepts and cannot be used as a substitute 
for each other. The HM Compliance BASIC allows the Agency to better 
identify HM-related compliance issues in order to mitigate the 
consequences of crashes or spills involving HM. The HM Intervention 
threshold applies more stringent intervention thresholds across all 
BASICs for carriers that often haul placardable quantities of HM due to 
the increased potential consequences of a crash involving placardable 
quantities of HM.
    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 

[[Page 52115]]

However, that provision is not being implemented because commenters, 
including Werner Enterprises pointed out that motor carriers that 
transport as little as one placarded load per year could be subject to 
the lower HM intervention thresholds primarily because they received a 
compliance review rather than the fact that they transport significant 
quantities of HM.

More Accurately Identify Carriers Involved in Transporting Passengers

    Comments: No commenters objected to this change. However, Advocates 
for Highway and Auto Safety requested that the analysis behind the 
change be made public.
    Agency Response: The Agency is proceeding with the definition 
change to the population of carriers subject to the more stringent 
Passenger Carrier intervention thresholds across BASICs. FMCSA proposed 
this change based on a desire to accurately capture passenger carriers 
subject to our jurisdiction as opposed to specific statistical 
analysis. This change adds all for-hire carriers with 9-15 passenger 
capacity vehicles and private carriers with 16-plus passenger capacity 
vehicles, as these carriers/entities are under FMCSA's authority, 
removes all carriers with only 1-8 capacity vehicles and private 
carriers with 1-15 passenger capacity vehicles (effectively removing 
many limousines, vans, taxis, etc.), as these carriers/entities are 
generally outside most of FMCSA's authority, and removes carriers where 
less than 2% of their respective fleets are passenger vehicles to 
exclude carriers that do not transport passengers as a significant part 
of their businesses. This change removes 4,200 carriers and adds 5,700 
other carriers for a net increase of 1,500 carriers that are identified 
as transporting passengers.

Change the Current Terminology, ``Inconclusive'' and ``Insufficient 
Data,'' to Fact-Based Descriptions

    Comments: No commenters objected to this change. The Advocates for 
Highway and Auto Safety wanted the specific replacement language 
available to the public during the preview instead of the general term 
``fact-based descriptions.'' ATA stated that the descriptions are a 
positive step, but would like BASIC percentile ranks (i.e. 0%) assigned 
to carriers that have not had a violation in a certain number/
percentage of inspections to indicate their safe operations in addition 
to the fact-based descriptions.
    Agency Response: In the current SMS, having a 0% in a BASIC 
indicates that the carrier has sufficient information for a percentile 
in SMS and that the carrier is operating safer than 100% of others in 
its safety event group. When the December 2012 SMS changes are 
implemented, carriers with sufficient data to be assessed and no 
violations will be assigned a 0% in that BASIC. The fact-based 
descriptions will apply when a carrier does not receive a percentile 
based on the methodology.

Separate Crashes With injuries and Crashes With Fatalities in the SMS 

    Comments: The majority of commenters, including ATA, FedEx, OOIDA, 
do not want crashes displayed on the SMS Web site, unless a 
preventability determination process is implemented. Those commenters 
also do not want carriers to be prioritized using the Crash Indicator 
until a preventability determination process is implemented. Two 
commenters, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and a joint 
comment from the Truck Safety Coalition, Parents Against Tired 
Truckers, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Road Safe 
America, support the proposed change and as well as the use of the 
Crash Indicator for prioritization of carriers and cite research 
indicating crash involvement is a good predictor of future crashes. In 
addition, these safety advocates want the Crash Indicator to be 
available for the public to view and do not want the Agency to remove 
any crashes from a carrier's record.
    Agency Response: Consistent with the public display of crash 
information over the last 10 years on our Safer Web site and in the 
SafeStat system, carrier crashes reported to MCMIS are displayed in 
FMCSA public information technology (IT) systems. Carrier Crash 
Indicator percentiles and measures are not publicly available. In June 
2012, language was added to various FMCSA public IT systems, including 
SMS, and it explicitly explains that the list of crashes represents a 
motor carrier's involvement in a crash with no determination as to 
    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  http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/CrashWeightingResearchPlan_7-2012.pdf.General.

Comments on SMS Preview

    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).
    Agency Response: FMCSA uses SMS to examine roadside and other 
inspection data to identify current safety performance issues and 
intervene with carriers when necessary. SMS does not change any 
regulation within the FMCSRs, is not a safety fitness rating, does not 
affect the safety fitness rating of a motor carrier, and does not 
impact a carrier's operating authority. Accordingly, the Agency's 
current use of SMS data is not subject to notice and comment 
    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 
    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.

Comments on Other Topics and Agency Responses

    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),

[[Page 52116]]

severity weighting determinations, disparities between States, the 
DataQs process, and making SMS scores publicly available.
    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 

Next Steps

    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.

    Issued: August 22, 2012.
Anne S. Ferro,
[FR Doc. 2012-21196 Filed 8-24-12; 12:00 pm]

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