This week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released updates to the Safety Management System (SMS) methodology of the new CSA 2010 safety-scoring rules for truck fleets—with an eye to better identifying motor carriers deemed to be “high risk” or to have other safety-compliance problems.
The changes were made in response to concerns raised by the American Trucking Assns. (ATA) and other trucking stakeholders that wanted to ensure unsafe truckers will be selected for interventions and that relatively safe ones will not.
Testifying on behalf of ATA on CSA 2010 before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure back in June, Keith Klein, executive vp & COO of truckload carrier Transportation Corporation of America, contended there are major flaws around how the new rules will actually work . These flaws could harm safe carriers while allowing unsafe ones to continue operating,
"A system that is based on inconsistent data and a flawed scoring methodology will not achieve its objectives,” Klein testified. “Instead, it will create inequities for some safe carriers and inappropriately allow some unsafe carriers to avoid scrutiny and consequences.”
For its part, the safety agency stated on its website that due to “ input from enforcement personnel, industry representatives, and safety experts, as well as findings from an extensive, 30-month field test, FMCSA is implementing several updates to the SMS that will make it more effective in identifying high risk and other carriers with safety compliance problems.”
The key measure of exposure changed within the Unsafe Driving Basic and Crash Indicator Basics (Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories) is from Power Units only to a combination of Power Units and Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT). These two Basics will also switch from using Power Units as a “safety event grouping” to using the number of crashes for the Crash Indicator and the number of inspections with a violation for the Unsafe Driving Basic.
According to FMCSA, further revisions to the SMS methodology include:
• Measure of exposure changes from Power Units to the number of relevant inspections within the Controlled Substances/Alcohol Basic
• “Severity weights” for some roadside inspection violations will be updated
• FMCSA will deploy a “more strategic approach to addressing motor carriers with a history of size and weight violations rather than counting these violations in the Cargo-Related Basic; the new approach will include alerts to roadside inspectors” on carriers with a history of size and weight violations.
“These enhancements will allow the Agency to more effectively identify motor carriers with safety performance and compliance problems thereby raising the bar for safety on the Nation’s roads,” FMCSA added.
Beginning August 16, the CSA 2010 Data Preview Website will show carriers an assessment of their current position in each of the SMS’s seven Basics so they can start working on their safety-compliance issues.
The SMS Basics are:
- Unsafe Driving
- Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service)
- Driver Fitness
- Controlled Substances/Alcohol
- Vehicle Maintenance
- Crash Indicator.
For more information from FMCSA on the data preview and the SMS changes, click here.