As a motor carrier, you’re probably familiar with the FMCSA, and by extension, you know about the Safety Measurement System (SMS). You know that the FMCSA oversees motor carriers and safety. They intervene with carriers when their safety record gets below a certain standard. But as a motor carrier, you might wonder when the SMS stops identifying a carrier for intervention. We’ll explain what the SMS is, how it gets its data, and when they stop intervention.
What is the SMS?
First of all, let’s start with what exactly the Safety Measurement System is. The Safety Measurement System is how the FMCSA identifies unsafe motor carriers and decides which carriers need intervention. The SMS lets the motor carriers, law enforcement, and the FMCSA know what their safety issues are. The FMCSA uses the SMS for a few different purposes. It uses the SMS to…
- Figure out which motor carriers need intervention efforts, such as a warning letter, investigations, and roadside inspections.
- See which specific safety issues need to be focused on during the investigation.
- Track these issues over time.
That’s what the SMS is and how the FMCSA uses it to track motor carrier safety. But how does the SMS know which carriers require intervention? That’s a great question, and it has to do with the data they collect.
Where does the Safety Measurement System get its data?
The Safety Measurement System looks at safety-based roadside inspection violations (meaning not only out-of-service violations). They also use state-reported crashes, using two years’ worth of performance data. To get this data, they go to the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). They pull data from the past two years’ worth of roadside inspection data from MCMIS and state-reported commercial motor vehicle crashes and motor carrier registration data. They also look at the results from Federal and State investigations from the past year.
When will the SMS stop identifying a motor carrier for intervention?
The SMS has a few ways in which it evaluates motor carrier safety performance. It looks at the past two years of on-road performance as well as inspection and crash data. They also use Acute and Critical violations. To put it simply, results from on-road performance and investigations can mean that a motor carrier has been tagged for intervention. But the question is once a motor carrier is identified for intervention, when will the SMS leave them alone and, well, stop identifying them?
The SMS stops flagging motor carriers for intervention when their BASIC percentile ranks are not above the Intervention Thresholds anymore. This occurs when the motor carrier has…
- Inspections that have no violations, which show improved performance.
- Poor inspections that don’t weigh as heavily as time passes (and eventually fall off after 24 months).
- A full year without violations (and the last BASIC inspection they had didn’t uncover any violations – for Unsafe Driving and Crash Indicator BASICs a carrier has to go without a violation for a year)
Another thing to keep in mind is that the SMS stops marking a motor carrier for intervention a year after an Acute or Critical violation happened. The SMS updates on a monthly basis, so the adjustment will show up in the next update after the one-year mark.
This is why it’s so important for you as a motor carrier to understand and familiarize yourself with the regulations you have to adhere to. This can help you stay in compliance and keep out of trouble. Avoiding FMCSA intervention is probably for the best, as you’ll know you’re following the appropriate regulations. Safety is key.
Having safety as a priority at your business can really help with your truck insurance rates, too. Our team of transportation professionals would be happy to help with your insurance – our goal is to make truck insurance easy and help truck businesses save money on their insurance. All you have to do to get started with quotes is fill out our online form, give us a call, or message us.