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What is the Driver Safety Measurement System and how does it work?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates several programs and divisions, including the Safety Measurement System (SMS). The SMS also has a sub-program known as the Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) that you may have questions about as a commercial driver. The most important thing to remember about DSMS is that it doesn’t issue or generate scores that evaluate driver safety. It also has no bearing on your commercial driver’s license (CDL) or safety rating.

Who can see Driver Safety Measurement System results?

The only parties that can view your results under DSMS are enforcement officials who inspect commercial vehicles as part of their job duties when completing investigations for the Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program. Drivers, motor carriers, the public, or third-party providers cannot see these results.

The FMCSA cautions inspectors not to use Driver Safety Measurement System results alone to judge a driver’s safety record and suitability for the job. However, it also points out that the same raw data used for DSMS is the same as it receives for its Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). Under that program, motor carriers can obtain crash and inspection reports electronically when conducting a pre-employment background check on drivers.

What sources of data are included in DSMS to assess driver performance?

Under the DSMS program, inspectors use data obtained from the BASICs, which stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. This information comes from crash records and safety inspections. Inspectors can access it from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) of the FMCSA.

The roadside inspection is one of the primary ways that the DSMS receives information about driver safety issues. Typically conducted by local or state law enforcement agents, the purpose of the roadside inspection is to determine if a driver is currently complying with Hazardous Material Regulations (HMRs) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

What do inspectors do with data obtained during roadside inspections?

If an inspector finds a violation during a roadside inspection, he or she enters it into the MCMIS database. Drivers must correct the issue immediately or risk receiving an out of service (OOS) order. A driver who receives an OOS cannot return to work until resolving the issue to the satisfaction of the FMCSA.

Commercial vehicle crash data obtained from state reporting agencies and forwarded to MCMIS provides inspectors with data regarding crashes reported at local and state levels. The DSMS uses all reportable data from crashes, whether the commercial driver bore any responsibility for the accident or not. The FMCSA defines a reportable crash as one in which a commercial motor vehicle or other vehicles required towing from the scene of the accident. It also includes any accident with injuries or fatalities.

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