FMCSA has delivered to Congress and the Office of the Inspector General the Agency's response to the report from the National Academy of Sciences(NAS), titled "Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement." This corrective action plan outlines the steps the Agency will take to address the recommendations made by the NAS which outline improvements to the Agency's Safety Measurement System.
Why did the NAS publish the “Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement” report?
The NAS report was commissioned by FMCSA, in keeping with the requirements of the FAST Act, to conduct a study of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program and its Safety Measurement System (SMS).
What were the recommendations in the NAS report?
The NAS report included six recommendations for FMCSA’s consideration. Generally, the recommendations are that FMCSA should:
1. Investigate a new statistical model, within the existing structure of SMS, over the next two years. FMCSA should evaluate the model’s effectiveness at identifying motor carriers for intervention to inform the decision of whether to implement this new model.
2. Improve the quality of Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) data that feeds SMS by continuing to collaborate with States and other agencies. This effort should focus on data related to crash reports and carrier exposure (e.g., Vehicle Miles Traveled, Power Units, etc.).
3. Explore ways to collect additional data that could enhance the recommended methodology for safety assessment. This data could include carrier characteristics such as driver turnover rate, type of cargo, method and level of compensation, and better information on exposure.
4. Make user-friendly versions of the MCMIS data file, and computer code used to calculate SMS results, available to the public. The MCMIS file would not include any personally identifiable information and the computer code would comply with reproducibility and transparency guidelines.
5. Conduct a study to better understand if percentile ranks should be available to the public. This study should aim to determine whether percentiles are effective at identifying carriers for intervention. Findings from this study should inform the decision of whether to make percentiles public.
6. Use absolute measures, in addition to relative percentiles, to determine which carriers are prioritized for intervention. The percentiles should be calculated within carrier safety event groups and across all carriers.
Where can I learn more about FMCSA’s response to the NAS recommendations?
In addition to reviewing the corrective action plan listed above, FMCSA will be hosting a public meeting to present and hear comments on the Agency’s response to the NAS recommendations regarding data quality and sources of data (see recommendations 2, 3, and 4 above).
Where can I read the complete NAS report?
A copy of the "Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement" report is available on the NAS website.
For additional information about the Correlation Study, visit the NAS website.
What did the NAS consider when conducting their study of CSA and SMS?
The FAST Act outlined several elements for the NAS to analyze and/or consider, including:
SMS and the BASICs
- Are the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) effective at identifying high-risk carriers for intervention?
- Is the methodology used to calculate the BASIC percentiles valid?
- Are there alternatives to SMS that would identify high-risk carriers more accurately?
- How does the public use SMS? What effect has making SMS information public had on reducing crashes and eliminating unsafe carriers from the industry?
Data Availability and Quality
- What is the value of inspection information and roadside enforcement data?
- How accurate is safety data (including data from crashes where the motor carrier was not at fault)?
- Are there any data collection and sufficiency gaps? What is their impact on the efficacy of the CSA program?
- What is the difference in rates at which enforcement authorities report safety violations to FMCSA for inclusion in SMS?
Additional Recommendations (Issued prior to FAST Act)
- Recommendations from the Comptroller General of the United States and the Inspector General of the Department
- Findings from Independent Review Team reports
Why did FMCSA make changes to the public display of SMS?
As required by Section 5223 of the FAST Act, FMCSA has removed alerts and relative percentiles for property carriers from the public display of the SMS. FMCSA is prohibited from publishing this information until the Correlation Study is complete, and all reporting requirements and certification requirements under the FAST Act are satisfied. The delivery of the NAS report does not change the public display of the SMS.
For information about the Correlation Study, please contact Ms. Barbara Baker, Compliance Division, at (202) 366-3397 or by email at Barbara.Baker@dot.gov.