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FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program succeeds SAFER

Sources: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

By Don Marsh

The Safety Management System (SMS) central to FMCSA’s new Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program will analyze violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier's on-road performance. SMS spans seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to gauge a carrier’s record and potential crash risk: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related and Crash Indicator.

A successor to the Safety Status Measurement System (SafeStat) and Safety Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) data collection and reporting methods, CSA enables FMCSA to reach more safety problem-prone fleet operators and drivers earlier and deploy a range of corrective interventions. Under the agency's old measurement tools, carrier performance was assessed in four broad categories. By looking at safety violations in each SMS category, FMCSA contends, federal and state agencies will be better equipped to identify carriers with patterns of high-risk behaviors and apply interventions—early warning letters, targeted roadside inspections and focused compliance reviews—to change unsafe practices early on.

"CSA will help us more easily identify unsafe commercial truck and bus companies," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "Better data and targeted enforcement will raise the safety bar for commercial carriers and empower them to take action before problems occur."   —  Compliance, Safety, Accountability, csa.fmcsa.dot.gov; Safety Management System, ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms