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PRISM Law Enforcement

The key requirement for Law Enforcement in PRISM States is to identify carriers and vehicles operating on the highway while under a FMCSA Out-of-Service Order and identify vehicles targeted by FMCSA for inspection.

In addition to Federal Out-of-Service, FMCSA also identifies carriers that are high-risk with potential for future crashes. The high-risk carriers and drivers are determined by using the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which is the primary component of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program that was introduced in 2010.

The Safety Measurement System quantifies the on road safety performance of carriers and drivers to identify candidates for interventions, to determine the specific safety problems exhibited by a carrier and its drivers, and to monitor whether safety problems are improving or worsening. SMS replaced SafeStat in the Operational Model. The Carrier SMS uses a motor carrier’s data from roadside inspections, including all safety-based violations, State-reported crashes, and the Federal motor carrier census to quantify performance in seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs).

Additional Law Enforcement Information:

Federal Out-of-Service Orders

There are four general instances in which the FMCSA will order a motor carrier to cease interstate operations:

  1. When the motor carrier receives a final unsatisfactory safety rating from the FMCSA as set forth in 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 385 and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st century (TEA-21);
  2. When, after exhausting all due process options, the motor carrier fails to pay Federal fines levied from FMCSA enforcement actions as set forth in 49 CFR part 386 and Section 206 of the Motor Carrier Improvement Act of 1999;
  3. When the motor carrier is determined to be an imminent hazard; and,
  4. When a new entrant fails an audit or does not schedule an audit within 18 months.

Bar Coding Cab Cards

PRISM states barcode the cab cards. The code contains the registrant and vehicle information that is also printed on the cab card. If the safety responsibility of the vehicle is not expected to change during the year, the cab card will also reflect the carrier responsible for safety's USDOT number, name and mailing address. If the safety responsibility is expected to change, then the barcode should not have any information concerning safety responsibility.

The barcoding of the information on the cab card provides efficiency at roadside events as well as accuracy in the information collected on accident and inspection reports.

The barcode on the cab card can assist the inspectors in completing the Federal and State specific crash and inspection form in a timelier manner. If the carrier responsible for safety remains the same as that printed and barcoded on the cab card, the completion of the inspection forms will be faster and easier to do.

Note of Caution: Not all states are implementing PRISM at this time. When using the information displayed on a cab card to determine the motor carrier responsible for safety, be advised that not all jurisdictions that barcode information on their cab cards are PRISM Compliant and predetermine the motor carrier responsible for safety. Some of the states that are not PRISM Compliant are barcoding their cab cards with the registrant information, which may or may not also be the motor carrier responsible for safety.

Target File and Target File Data Access

For more information on Target File and Target File Data Access, please click here.

Training Material for Law Enforcement

The PRISM Law Enforcement Training Manual has been prepared to assist States in implementing the PRISM law enforcement requirements.

When a State enters the PRISM program there are changes made in the State's IRP processing and additional tools are provided for law enforcement to use at the roadside. There are changes in forms and additional computer information is available. Moreover, registration actions may be taken against a registrant or motor carrier based on their safety performance in PRISM.

The training package includes a general overview of PRISM concepts in a slide presentation. The slides are annotated for the trainer. In addition, the training manual details the changes to the IRP registration system that are of interest to enforcement as well as descriptions of the Federal enforcement /tracking system for motor carriers. Further, there is information on the various technologies available to access information at the roadside and on what to do when a vehicle is stopped at the roadside. These sections need to be customized by the State by eliminating any sections for a technology that is not used by the State and to match the laws/authority of the State.

Parts of this manual can be made into a law enforcement brochure for those that do not need all of the information.

To download the law enforcement training package, please go to the Document and Resources page.

Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2015
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