Agency Response to Public Comments of Safety Measurement System Changes
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)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-21196]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
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.
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have
questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Renee
V. Wright, Program Manager, Docket Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.
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
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
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,
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:
Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by
incorporating cargo/load securement violations from today's Cargo-
Changing the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Hazardous
Materials (HM) BASIC to better identify HM-related safety and
Better aligning the SMS with Intermodal Equipment Provider
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
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.
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.
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
Comments: Several commenters, such as Bison Transport, Inc, Q-Line
Trucking, the Western Trucking Alliance, Vigillo, LLC, the Owner-
Operator Independent Driver
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
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
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
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
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),
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
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]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P
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