FMCSA Implements CSA Safety Measurement System Changes
Monday, December 3, 2012
At the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), our mission and number one priority is to improve the safety of large trucks and buses in order to prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our Nation's roadways. To realize this vital safety mission, FMCSA invested six years of research in the development of its enhanced enforcement and compliance program, known as Compliance, Safety, Accountability (or CSA).
I am happy to report that CSA has proven to be an effective program and a positive change for safety, thanks to the hard work, dedication, and commitment of the men and women of this agency, our State partners, industry leaders, safety advocates, commercial motor carriers, and our Nation's professional drivers.
Last year, for example, violations per roadside inspection were down 8% and driver violations per inspection were down 10%, the most dramatic decrease in violation rates in a decade. There were 48 million visits to our Web site—that's 18 million more than the year before. Still, on average, nearly 4,000 people die in large truck and bus crashes each year, so we can and must do more. That's why FMCSA continually works with all our partners to improve our enforcement program, CSA.
CSA consists of three components: the Safety Measurement System, the Intervention Process and the Safety Fitness Determination rule. Today, I am here to speak about our first component the System.
The Safety Measurement System, SMS, uses all available roadside violation, inspection, and crash data which help us identify unsafe carriers and address problems before crashes occur.
I am pleased to report that based on our analysis of recommendations made by a wide range of stakeholders, the proposed package SMS improvements that I discussed with you in August were officially put in place over the weekend and are now in effect. The package includes 11 improvements that will further strengthen our enforcement program.
They include strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by incorporating cargo/load securement violations that were previously in the Cargo-Related BASIC. This offers some important benefits. Including the load securement violations into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC removes the bias in the previous Cargo-Related BASIC which had resulted in identifying a disproportionately large number of carriers that haul open trailers (e.g. flatbeds) for interventions. And, a sharper focus on unsafe carriers.
Another enhancement is changing the Cargo-Related BASIC to the HM Compliance BASIC to better identify hazardous material-related safety and compliance problems. FMCSA implemented the HM Compliance BASIC to address motor carriers that do not comply with Federal safety regulations related to properly packaging, transporting, accurately identifying, and communicating hazardous cargo in the event of a crash or spill. The general public is subject to a greater safety risk if a hazardous material is involved in a motor carrier crash. Unmarked or poorly marked HM cargo can result in less effective emergency response, as well as injuries and fatalities for emergency responders and others.
Other changes clarify terminology, align the weighting of paper and electronic logbooks, remove 1 to 5 mph speed violations, and ensure driver-only inspections do not include vehicle violations, as well as the reverse, that vehicle-only inspections do not include driver violations.
These enhancements are part of FMCSA's continuous work to strengthen its safety enforcement tools. These changes are an example of how FMCSA continually invests in safety, reviewing data and stakeholder input for ways to enhance the program's effectiveness. It is proof that together, we can improve safety on our Nation's roadways.
Background materials on these SMS enhancements, including the news release, frequently asked questions and fact sheets, can be found on our CSA Web site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.