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What is the SMS Insurance/Other Indicator?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has prepared a program designed to enhance safety and to ensure that oversized commercial vehicles are as safe as possible on the roads. The SMS Insurance/Other Indicator is part of a wider initiative and designed to check for licensing, registration, reporting, and insurance issues.

The SMS, or Safety Measurement System, tracks results of safety inspections, incidents, and more to create a tangible way to assess a carrier’s performance. You can find your SMS results online at any time via the secure government portal. SMS maintains several programs and rules designed to enhance safety. Results are available to carriers, insurers, and the public; your goal should be to have the lowest score possible, as infractions and safety issues bring your score up.

The Insurance/Other Indicator is part of BASIC.

The Insurance Other Indicator is measured by SMS and is a companion to the comprehensive BASIC safety assessment program. The SMS Insurance/Other Indicator tracks problems found during inspections and highlights areas of concern that are not already covered under BASIC. BASIC covers everything from driver fitness and health to collisions and safety assessment failures. The SMS Insurance Other Indicator completes the picture and incorporates other data that might otherwise be missed.

How is the Insurance/Other Indicator measured?

This particular component of SMS is not publicly available. In addition to safety, it tracks compliance issues related to the business and even paperwork. The Insurance/Other Indicator can reveal how thorough a business is when it comes to details and how committed they are to complying with all regulations.

Some typical SMS Insurance/Other Issues are detailed below.

  • Failure to report incidents, accidents, and related issues
  • Lack of insurance for the vehicle
  • The commercial vehicle is underinsured
  • The truck’s paperwork, including registration, is not up to date
  • The operator is not properly licensed

While most of these issues deal with paperwork and business, they can still have a profound impact on both safety and costs. Businesses that aren’t big on tracking paperwork and deadlines may also struggle with driver records, compliance, and training. A driver that is pulled over with an unregistered or unlicensed truck will likely receive a ticket; while most Insurance/Other Indicator issues are not available to the public, a moving violation would be under BASIC rules. The fee for the ticket itself, any additional late fees and fines, and other financial sanctions could apply in this costly scenario as well.

Being aware of the Insurance Other Indicator and what it covers can help you avoid impacting your overall SMS score and prevent unwanted costs. This important factor is often overlooked. Regularly checking your vehicles and drivers for up to date licensing is an essential component of your overall SMS.

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