Which carriers are included in the Safety Measurement System?

The SMS includes certain motor carriers.

According to the Safety Measurement System (SMS), a program of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), five million people are employed as commercial truck and bus drivers in the United States. Drivers of these large commercial vehicles share the same roads as more than 250 million Americans using their own personal vehicle. The FMCSA counts on the SMS to intervene with drivers who demonstrate potentially unsafe behavior.

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Alabama to allow 18 to 21-year-olds to drive CMVs intrastate

18 to 21-year-olds will be allowed to drive CMVs intrastate in Alabama.

On May 15, 2019, the Alabama legislature passed a bill that would lower the age a driver can apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for intrastate truck driving from 21 to 18. The Senate passed the bill 24-0 while the House voted 96-1 in favor of passage. Governor Kay Ivey is expected to sign the bill with an effective date of February 17, 2020. Hawaii is now the only state that imposes a minimum age of 21 to obtain an intrastate CDL.

Read moreAlabama to allow 18 to 21-year-olds to drive CMVs intrastate

What data does the Safety Measurement System use?

The Safety Measurement System uses certain data as part of the methodology.

The Safety Measurement System (SMS), a branch of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), identifies and intervenes with drivers who have demonstrated unsafe driving behavior. It uses seven distinct categories, known as BASICs, to identify, categorize, and rank drivers to prioritize for intervention. BASIC stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories and includes the following categories:

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How can truck drivers view their safety data?

You can request a safety data report.

As a commercial bus or truck driver, it’s in your best interest to know the information contained in your safety record. Monitoring your own performance allows you to be proactive with correcting issues before the Compliance, Safety & Accountability (CSA) division of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) selects you for intervention. We’ll explain how you can obtain a copy of your safety data below.

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Can I challenge the results of an FMCSA inspection?

You can challenge the results of an FMCSA inspection.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducts periodic roadside inspections of commercial trucks and buses to ensure public safety. Any violation on your record with the FMCSA can have a negative impact on your career as well as single you out for further intervention from the agency’s Compliance, Safety & Accountability (CSA) program. What if you want to challenge the result of an FMCSA inspection? We’ll explain.

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When will the Safety Measurement System stop identifying a motor carrier for intervention?

Intervention from the FMCSA doesn't have to last forever.

The Safety Management System (SMS) program, which is managed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), helps to identify and correct unsafe driving behaviors. The organization’s goal is to intervene early enough to prevent accidents from taking place. SMS assigns points under another program known as Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC). Each driver receives a score based on the most recent 24 months of performance data.

Read moreWhen will the Safety Measurement System stop identifying a motor carrier for intervention?

What should a truck driver do if there’s an ELD malfunction?

It's important to know what to do if there's an ELD malfunction.

When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began mandating the use of the electronic logging device (ELD) in December 2017, it did so with the understanding that it could occasionally malfunction. Under FMCSA guidelines, a commercial truck driver must follow specific instructions if the device that monitors date, time, hours of service, and other important data starts to malfunction. Those that do not follow these guidelines risk fines or other sanctions by the FMCSA for being out of compliance. So, we’ll go over what to do if you have an ELD malfunction.

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What information is recorded by an ELD?

ELDs record information about a driver's hours on the road.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all commercial truckers to install an electronic logging device (ELD) in their vehicle to record specific information. The ELD has replaced paper logs and electronic onboard recorders since that device was not standardized for the entire industry. The FMCSA required all carriers to install ELDs by December 2017 and to be in full compliance by December 2019.

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What are Safety Event Groups and how are they used?

It's important to understand what safety event groups are.

Compliance and Safety Accountability (CSA) is a program operated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that uses Safety Event Groups to help rank motor carriers in terms of safety. The CSA first used this methodology in 2010 when it replaced Peer Groups. It also stopped assigning Average Power Units at that time to categorize fleets. The change caused some fleets to see a large fluctuation in their percentile ranking as compared to their peers. We’ll explain what Safety Event Groups are.

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What are Acute and Critical Violations?

There is a difference between acute and critical violations.

When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) completes a safety audit, it is looking for evidence of violations that can put the public at risk. It classifies all violations as either acute or critical. When a trucking company or independent owner-operator receives an acute violation, it means that the violation was so grossly unsafe that the FMCSA will implement immediate corrective action. Refusing or failing to put a drug and alcohol testing program in place is a common example of an acute violation.

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