FMCSA Updates SMS Methodology

Kevin Anderson CSA 2010, Transportation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enhanced the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology so that it includes violations based on new cell phone use regulations and provides more detailed breakouts of some existing brake, wheel, and coupling regulations. In February, when the January snapshot is released, motor carriers may notice the following two changes.

  1. The addition of five texting and cell phone use violations in the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) as outlined below. The violations reflect FMCSA’s decision on January 3, 2012 to ban commercial drivers from using mobile telephones while driving, which includes a ban on texting. Motor carriers should discuss the new violations with their drivers to ensure that they are aware of these requirements.
    Added Carrier SMS Unsafe Driving BASIC Violations
    Section Violation Description Shown on Driver/Vehicle Examination Report Given to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver after Roadside Inspection Violation Group Description Violation Severity Weight
    177.804(b) Failure to comply with 49 CFR 392.80 – Texting while Oper a CMV – Placardable HM Texting 10
    177.804(c) Fail to comply with 392.82 – Using Mobile Phone while Oper a CMV – HM Phone Call 10
    392.80(a) Driving a commercial motor vehicle while texting Texting 10
    392.82(a)(1) Using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV Phone Call 10
    392.82(a)(2) Allowing or requiring driver to use a hand-held mobile tel while operating a CMV Phone Call 10
  2. A breakout of six current Vehicle Maintenance violations into 22 that provide more descriptive and detailed information about compliance with existing brake, wheel, and coupling regulations. This change will ensure that SMS remains aligned with improvements recently made to roadside data collection systems. Those improvements are the results of a joint FMCSA and Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance effort to increase data uniformity through improved processes and tools. This change will help to clarify who the responsible party is for the violations, either the motor carrier or the Intermodal Equipment Provider.

FMCSA is revising Appendix A of the SMS Methodology document to take these changes into account. The agency will re-post the document to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website at the same time the January SMS snapshot is released. Stay tuned by subscribing to the CSA Outreach Website at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/stay_connected.aspx.