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FMCSA to change carriers’ SMS web display in August

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to launch changes to the display of carriers’ information on the public Safety Measurement System (SMS) website on Aug. 2, the agency announced in a Federal Register notice to be published July 24. FMCSA in November 2013 announced its plan to revamp the website and gave interested parties a chance to preview changes. The SMS website is the public’s view into the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program.

The SMS website changes don’t alter the SMS methodology but rather are intended to make the website easier to use and understand to clarify SMS’s role as FMCSA’s prioritization tool for interventions; to consolidate safety information currently available only by visiting multiple websites; and to provide improved access to detailed information and new performance monitoring tools, FMCSA said. The agency noted that clarifying SMS’s role as a prioritization tool squares with June 9, 2014, recommendations from the Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee.

FMCSA has generally adopted all 11 proposed website changes with a few tweaks to a few of them based on comments. It also is making four other changes based on comments that it did not include in the proposal:

  • Providing a carrier with its own Inspection Selection System (ISS) information, including the carrier’s ISS score, inspection recommendations, and the basis for those recommendations
  • Providing carrier and driver out-of-service (OOS) rates and national averages to allow users to compare an individual company’s OOS rate with the national average for commercial motor vehicles
  • Acknowledging distinctions between BASICs and crash involvement by incorporating BASIC Status to Crash Rate graphs from FMCSA’s SMS Effectiveness Test
  • Displaying a carrier’s “Doing Business As” (DBA) name to enhance the search options on the website

The agency noted that it had received comments that were outside the scope of an enhanced website, including those related to SMS methodology and effectiveness. Some commenters raised these broader issues even as they provided detailed comments on the website display.

For example, even though the American Trucking Assns. provided detailed comments, it concluded by saying that it “continues to object to the public display of CSA metrics, in any form.” ATA argued that “a host of data and methodology problems substantially impact the reliability and accuracy of CSA scores. Until FMCSA makes the necessary data and methodology improvements and peer reviewed research subsequently confirms a strong relationship between CSA scores and crash risk, the scores should not be made publicly available.”

FMCSA plans three webinars on Aug. 20 and Aug. 21 to explain the SMS website changes to stakeholders.

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