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Do inspections that find no violations count in the SMS?

When drivers undergo a roadside inspection, the goal is to get through it without the inspector finding any problems. That means they’re doing their job well and don’t require any follow-up from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). If you have recently gone through your first inspection or have just become familiar with the Safety Measurement System (SMS), you may wonder if inspections with no violations become part of your SMS record. According to information published by the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program of the FMCSA, the answer is yes.

What type of information does the SMS track?

Evaluators for the SMS rate drivers based on their inspection results and crashes based on the unique number assigned to them from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). That means only violations you received while working for a motor carrier count against your SMS. Any driving record while operating a private vehicle do not become part of the SMS nor does the driving record after terminating employment with a motor carrier.

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However, records of violations and inspections remain part of the SMS for 24 months whether the driver is still employed or not. The time-weighted nature of the violations means that some will fall off or rank lower in severity over the course of 24 months. The SMS considers the following when evaluating the safety of individual motor carriers:

  • The results of all safety-based roadside inspections
  • Out-of-service violations
  • State-reported crashes

An inspection with no violations can improve your percentile ranking, especially if it pushes older and less severe violations off your record due to the amount of time that has elapsed.

Which carriers must participate with SMS?

The FMCSA has oversight over all carriers within the United States that travel interstate and haul loads weighing more than 10,001 pounds. It also manages carriers that routinely deliver hazardous materials. All carriers under the umbrella of the FMCSA participate in roadside inspections and receive SMS rankings.

How violations and crashes affect SMS results

The SMS program evaluates drivers in seven unique categories referred to as BASICs, which stands for Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. Any violation or crash remains on a driver’s record for 24 months. The SMS assigns a weight to each violation or crash, giving the greatest weight to events that happened in the last six months and the least weight to events that occurred more than 12 months ago.

The best thing you can do to maintain a good percentile ranking is to have no violations during several consecutive roadside inspections. If you do receive a violation, vow to learn from it and not receive a new one in the future. With violations falling off completely in 24 months, your record will eventually be as good as new if you don’t receive further violations.

Do you have enough insurance coverage?

Consistently posting excellent roadside inspection results takes hard work and dedication to safe driving. Part of being a safe driver is making sure that you have the right types and levels of insurance coverage. If you’re thinking about your coverage or just want to make sure you’re getting the best deal, we invite you to fill out our online quote form, give us a call, or message us on LiveChat.