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.
How long does SMS intervention last?
If you are a commercial truck driver who has recently received notice of a violation, you may be wondering when the SMS will stop its intervention efforts. According to the FMCSA, a commercial trucker will remain involved with the SMS intervention program until he or she no longer has deficient scores under the BASIC program. The agency will cease working with you when your score falls below the intervention threshold.
You can bring your score below the SMS threshold in one of two ways. The first is to demonstrate improved performance through excellent roadside inspection results. The other is when poor performance issues drop off your driving record with the FMCSA after 24 months. That means you always have the opportunity to improve your score regardless of the level of SMS intervention.
Understanding the BASIC Scoring System.
The BASIC scoring model considers seven unique types of behavior that increase the likelihood of the motor carrier causing a serious accident. These include:
- Controlled Substance/Alcohol: A violation in this category means that a driver operated a commercial vehicle while impaired due to the use of alcohol, illegal drugs, or overuse of prescription drugs.
- Crash Indicator: This BASIC intervention means that there is a history of repeated involvement with crashes, regardless of fault. It includes all crashes reported at the state level that meet standards for crash reporting.
- Driver Fitness: Drivers must have the proper experience, medical qualifications, and training to work as a commercial driver. An employer may be flagged for intervention for this violation as well.
- Hazardous Material Compliance: This would include actions such as failing to mark or secure a package containing hazardous materials appropriately.
- Hours of Service Compliance: Not maintaining an accurate record of duty status (RODS), driving while ill or fatigued, or not abiding by working hour requirements can lead to an SMS intervention under this BASIC.
- Unsafe Driving: This includes engaging in any known unsafe driving behavior such as speeding, deliberate recklessness, sending or receiving a text message, or not signaling a lane change properly.
- Vehicle Maintenance: SMS inspectors look for issues such as ignoring mechanical defects, overloading the commercial vehicle, or causing spills on roadways that could have been prevented.
A combined average score worse than the program threshold will result in the written notification of the specific problem or behavior you must correct, how to do so, and consequences for not doing so in the allotted time.
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