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Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) Changes to Improve Uniformity in the Treatment of Inspection Violation Data

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) Changes to Improve Uniformity in the Treatment of Inspection Violation Data

Anne S. Ferro
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
December 2, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 231 (Monday, December 2, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72146-72149]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28795]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No FMCSA-2013-0457]


Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) Changes to 
Improve Uniformity in the Treatment of Inspection Violation Data

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces changes to its Motor Carrier Management 
Information System (MCMIS) to allow the Agency to upload the results of 
associated adjudicated State citations for roadside inspection 
violation data. MCMIS will be modified to accept adjudication 
information concerning a citation associated with a violation that was 
dismissed or resulted in a finding of not guilty; resulted in a 
conviction of a different or lesser charge; or resulted in conviction 
of the original charge. This action will improve roadside inspection 
data quality. In addition, the Agency announces new processes to 
provide more uniformity in the way the inspection violation data are 
treated in FMCSA data systems. FMCSA seeks public comments on the 
prospective application of the changes.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 2, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by docket number FMCSA-
2013-0457 using any one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department 
of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New 
Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., e.t., 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 and Request for Comments'' heading under 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below for instructions on 
submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Courtney Stevenson, Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, 
DC 20590, telephone 202-366-5241 or by email: 
courtney.stevenson@dot.gov. FMCSA office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 
p.m., e.t., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. If you have 
questions on viewing or submitting material to the docket, call Docket 
Operations, telephone 202-366-9826.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Public Participation and Request for Comments

    FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and 
related materials.

Submitting Comments

    If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this 
notice (FMCSA-2013-0457), indicate the specific section of this 
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each 
suggestion or recommendation. 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 comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
put the docket number, ``FMCSA-2013-0457'' in the ``Keyword'' box, and 
click ``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on ``Comment 
Now!'' button and type your comment into the text box in the following 
screen. Choose

[[Page 72147]]

whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf 
of a third party and then submit. 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 during the 
comment period and may change this notice 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 
insert the docket number, ``FMCSA-2013-0457'' in the ``Keyword'' box 
and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket Folder'' button and 
choose the document listed to review. 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 may search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or of the person 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.

II. Executive Summary

    As discussed below, States adopt and enforce motor carrier safety 
and hazardous materials laws and regulations as an eligibility 
requirement for FMCSA's Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) 
and report violations discovered through roadside inspections to FMCSA. 
Motor carriers and drivers alleging that errors have occurred may 
petition the States for correction. High-quality data that are 
complete, timely, accurate, and consistently reported enable FMCSA to 
continue to achieve its safety mission by identifying trends in the 
violation data.
    One of the challenges that the Agency faces in trying to ensure the 
data are accurate is how best to consider violations cited during 
roadside inspections that are subsequently adjudicated in State and 
local courts. This is especially difficult when the roadside inspection 
results are uploaded by the State enforcement agency into FMCSA's 
information systems and the subsequent adjudication happens much later 
with no practical means for the adjudication results to be transmitted 
directly to FMCSA. In response to this challenge, FMCSA is modifying 
its MCMIS to accept adjudication information concerning a citation 
associated with a violation that (1) was dismissed or resulted in a 
finding of not guilty; (2) resulted in a conviction of a different or 
lesser charge; or (3) resulted in conviction of the original charge. 
The Agency's State partners will modify their processes and procedures 
to capture the State and local adjudications results associated with 
roadside inspection violations and upload the information to FMCSA. 
These changes will improve the uniformity and quality of data vital to 
improving safety on the Nation's roads.

III. Background

    As discussed below, States enforce motor carrier safety laws under 
a Federal grant program and report violations discovered through 
roadside inspections to FMCSA. Parties alleging that errors have 
occurred may petition the States for correction. High-quality data that 
are complete, timely, accurate, and consistently reported enable FMCSA 
to continue to achieve its safety mission. Therefore, FMCSA announces 
changes to MCMIS and processes to append the results of associated 
adjudicated State citations to the inspection violation data. These 
changes improve the uniformity and quality of data vital to improving 
safety on the Nation's roads.

A. Definitions

    For the purposes of this notice, the following definitions apply:
     Adjudicated Citation: A citation that has been contested 
and resolved through a due process proceeding in a State, local, or 
administrative tribunal, regardless of how the action is resolved, 
whether by a judge or prosecutor or as part of a plea agreement or 
otherwise.
     Citation: A notice, issued by a law enforcement officer to 
a commercial motor vehicle driver for a violation of State law or 
State-adopted Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) or 
Hazardous Materials Regulation (HMR). The driver may contest the 
citation through a State-provided administrative or judicial system.
     Conviction (as defined at 49 CFR 383.5 and 390.5): An 
unvacated adjudication of guilt, or a determination that a person has 
violated or failed to comply with the law in a court of original 
jurisdiction or by an authorized administrative tribunal, an unvacated 
forfeiture of bail or collateral deposited to secure the person's 
appearance in court, a plea of guilty or nolo contendere accepted by 
the court, the payment of a fine or court cost, or violation of a 
condition of release without bail, regardless of whether or not the 
penalty is rebated, suspended, or probated.
     Unvacated: Refers to an order or judgment that has not 
been cancelled or rescinded.

B. Databases for Inspection Data

    State law enforcement officials routinely conduct roadside 
inspections documenting violations of State laws or regulations that 
are ``compatible'' with the FMCSRs and HMRs. See 49 CFR 350.105 (which 
defines ``compatible or compatibility''). State officials, at their 
discretion, may issue State citations for the violations recorded on 
the roadside inspection report. States enter roadside inspection and 
violation data into SafetyNet, a database management system that allows 
entry, access, analysis, and reporting of data from driver/vehicle 
inspections, crashes, compliance reviews, assignments, and complaints. 
It is operated at State safety agencies and Federal Divisions and 
interfaces with roadside inspection software, SAFER,\1\ MCMIS, and 
State systems. The MCMIS data are then used in other FMCSA data 
systems, including the Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) \2\ and 
the Safety Measurement System (SMS).\3\
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    \1\ SAFER is FMCSA's Safety and Fitness Electronic Records 
(SAFER) system.
    \2\ PSP helps motor carriers make more informed hiring decisions 
by providing electronic access to a driver's crash and inspection 
history from MCMIS. See http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
    \3\ SMS is an automated system that quantifies the on-road 
safety performance of motor carriers so that FMCSA can identify 
unsafe carriers, prioritize them for intervention, and monitor if a 
motor carrier's safety and compliance problem is improving. See 
http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/.
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    Drivers and motor carriers may challenge citations associated with 
violations recorded during roadside inspections through State judicial 
or administrative systems. A citation that has been resolved through a 
State's judicial or administrative process,

[[Page 72148]]

regardless of outcome, is considered to be adjudicated. Drivers, motor 
carriers, and members of the public may file a Request for Data Review 
(RDR) in FMCSA's DataQs system for acknowledgement of the adjudication 
in the inspection record when the State process does not result in 
conviction of the original charge.

C. Motor Carrier Safety Data Correction System

    Pursuant to 49 CFR 350.201(s), one of the conditions for 
participation in the MCSAP is that a State must establish a program to 
ensure that accurate and timely motor carrier safety data are collected 
and reported, and ensure the State's participation in a national motor 
carrier safety data correction system prescribed by FMCSA. DataQs is 
that national motor carrier data correction system (49 CFR 350.211, ] 
11).
    DataQs is an online system that provides an electronic means for 
drivers, motor carriers, and members of the public to submit concerns 
about the accuracy of Federal and State crash, inspection, and 
violation data in FMCSA data systems. When a request for an RDR is 
filed, the DataQs system automatically forwards the request to the 
appropriate Federal or State office for processing and resolution 
(https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/).
    Presently, SafetyNet and MCMIS record only inspection and violation 
data from the initial inspection report, and do not contain a data 
field that would allow the State to append the result of an adjudicated 
citation to the appropriate violation on the inspection report. There 
is some inconsistency in how States address an adjudicated citation for 
which an RDR is filed. The DataQs User Guide and Manual, available at: 
https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/Data/Guide/DataQs_Users_Guide_and_Best_Practices_Manual.pdf, describes standardized processes and 
techniques to address and resolve RDRs.
    FMCSA issued guidance to State DataQs analysts in May 2011, 
explaining that the ``. . . DataQs guidance does NOT recommend or 
require blanket rejection of DataQs RDRs seeking removal of violations 
that have been dismissed by a court. Instead, we [FMCSA] advise that 
the analysts exercise discretion and good judgment by carefully 
reviewing the reason for the court dismissal based on any and all 
available information and determine whether fairness dictates removal 
of the violation from the State and Federal database.'' In following 
this guidance, some States will automatically remove a violation 
associated with an adjudicated citation for which there is no 
conviction, while others do not remove the violation unless evidence 
submitted to the court supports a finding that the violation did not 
occur. Today's notice is intended to create greater uniformity across 
the States.

IV. Overview of Changes

A. New Data Field for Adjudicated Citations Results

    FMCSA will issue revised direction to the States to document 
adjudication results and supplement the initial inspection report when 
an RDR containing appropriate documentation is submitted. If the RDR 
provides adequate documentation of an adjudicated citation related to a 
violation or violations recorded in a roadside inspection report, the 
State will enter adjudication results into SafetyNet. State and Federal 
data systems will be modified to accept data concerning a citation 
associated with a violation that (1) was dismissed or resulted in a 
finding of not guilty; (2) resulted in a conviction of a different or 
lesser charge; or (3) resulted in conviction of the original charge. 
Those adjudications, recorded in SafetyNet, will be uploaded into 
MCMIS.
    FMCSA is revising the MCMIS database and creating a new data field 
to allow inclusion of adjudicated citation results associated with 
violations documented during an inspection. The results of adjudicated 
citations recorded in MCMIS will be reflected in FMCSA's SMS and PSP.
    The following table indicates how the adjudication outcomes 
documented in MCMIS will impact the use of the cited violation in 
FMCSA's SMS and PSP databases:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Result of adjudicated citation
   associated with a violation     Violation in SMS:   Violation in PSP:
       uploaded to MCMIS:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) Convicted of original charge  Retain violation..  Retain violation.
(2) Not guilty/Dismissed........  Remove violation..  Remove violation.
(3) Convicted of different        Retain AND          Retain AND
 charge.                           indicate            indicate
                                   violation as        violation as
                                   ``Resulted in       ``Resulted in
                                   conviction of a     conviction of a
                                   different           different
                                   charge'';.          charge''.
                                  SMS severity
                                   weight set to
                                   lowest value in
                                   BASIC*.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* SMS quantifies motor carrier performance in seven Behavioral Analysis
  Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The SMS methodology, including
  a description of severity weights used in the methodology, is provided
  at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/SMSMethodology.pdf.

    As required by FMCSA's MCSAP regulations (i.e., 49 CFR part 350) 
States must follow the Agency's regulatory definition of ``conviction'' 
as outlined in the definitions section in this notice and in 49 CFR 
383.5 and 390.5 and address RDRs accordingly. Thus, when an RDR 
indicates that a State court dismissed a citation while still imposing 
a fine or court cost, the outcome will be recorded in SafetyNet as a 
conviction by the State.
    Upon implementing the MCMIS policy discussed in this notice, FMCSA 
will update the DataQs guidance manual to reflect these changes.

B. Prospective Application of the MCMIS Changes

    The primary purpose of these changes is to improve uniformity in 
the treatment of violation data associated with adjudicated citations. 
FMCSA intends that States record adjudicated citation results only for 
citations associated with, and issued during, a roadside inspection 
that occurs on or after the implementation date. This prospective 
approach is consistent with all of FMCSA's previous system changes 
designed to improve data quality.
    FMCSA believes the prospective application will mitigate the 
potential for significantly increased numbers of RDRs, based on 
hundreds--potentially thousands--of past adjudicated citations, which 
could quickly exhaust States' DataQs capability. Such a drain on State 
DataQs staffs could prevent States from promptly acting on other RDR 
requests and/or could create a need to redirect scarce State resources 
from roadside enforcement to DataQs processing, adversely affecting 
motor carrier safety enforcement. In addition, the prospective 
application will (1) provide a uniform and orderly process for the 
States to incorporate recording adjudicated citations into their State 
MCSAP Commercial Vehicle Safety Plans and budgets (see 49 CFR 350.213

[[Page 72149]]

for description of CVSP); (2) provide an effective process that the 
Agency can test to ensure system effectiveness and data quality; and 
(3) reduce the cost of applying and implementing these changes across 
the Agency and the States. FMCSA seeks comments on the prospective 
application of the changes.

C. Prohibition on Masking Convictions

    The FMCSA emphasizes the importance of accurate information 
concerning traffic violations in addition to roadside inspection 
violations. The Agency will continue its work with the States to ensure 
that commercial learner's permit (CLP) and commercial driver's license 
(CDL) holders who are found to have engaged in unsafe driving behaviors 
are not provided with relief from the consequences of these unsafe 
actions through masking of their convictions by the States. Masking 
convictions allows commercial drivers to accumulate multiple serious 
traffic safety violations without the driver's State of licensure or 
other States being aware of the driver's actual driving history.
    FMCSA regulation at 49 CFR 384.226 prohibits States from masking 
convictions, deferring imposition of judgment, or allowing an 
individual to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a CLP 
or CDL holder's conviction for any violation, in any type of motor 
vehicle, of a State or local traffic control law (other than parking, 
vehicle weight, or vehicle defect violations) from appearing on the 
Commercial Driver's License Information System driving record, whether 
the driver was convicted for an offense committed in the State where 
the driver is licensed or another State. The Agency views the practice 
of State courts dismissing citations after a guilty plea has been 
entered or following payment of a fine or mandatory contribution to a 
State program as a condition of dismissal, as ``masking'' of a 
commercial driver's violation of State or local traffic control laws.
    The changes to State and FMCSA data systems outlined in this notice 
will enable both the Agency and the State licensing agencies to better 
track and document patterns and practices that are inconsistent with 49 
CFR 384.226 concerning the masking prohibition. States found to have 
used masking or other diversionary programs may be found in substantial 
noncompliance and could risk decertification of their CDL programs, 
which could impact grant funding.

    Issued on: November 26, 2013.
Anne S. Ferro,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-28795 Filed 11-26-13; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P



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