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United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

The Impact of Vehicle Maintenance on Safety

Project Goal:

To further analyze the impact of vehicle maintenance issues on safety.


Vehicle maintenance (e.g., brakes, lights, other mechanical defects, and load securement) is one of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) for Carrier Safety Measurement. In January 2014, FMCSA published the Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) Effectiveness Test by BASICs Study. This published study showed that motor carriers targeted for interventions due to vehicle maintenance have a 65 percent greater future crash rate than the national average.


The proposed study will further analyze the impact of vehicle maintenance issues on safety, to include not only violations that are serious enough to be listed as out-of-service (OOS) criteria, but also other vehicle maintenance issues which have been found to cause or contribute to crashes. This proposed study will consider whether new or revised OOS criteria are needed. New or revised OOS criteria may include combinations of vehicle maintenance issues.


A report that analyzes the impact of vehicle maintenance on safety and recommends whether new or revised OOS criteria are needed. Additionally, a review of inspection and maintenance practices of States and safe carriers, respectively.



October 2016: Kick-off meeting
November 2016: Draft work plan to be peer-reviewed
February 2017: Final work plan (peer-reviewed)
April 2017: Literature review completed
September 2017: Preliminary analysis of data from CSMS & Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) data
Submit Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Implement Survey
Conduct Analysis
August 2020: Submit final report; brief FMCSA senior management on findings


Total Funding: $200,000.

Current Status:

This project has fallen behind schedule due to delays in the ICR review process.

Project Manager:

For more information, contact  Chris Flanigan of the Technology Division at (202) 385-2384 or


Virginia Tech Transportation Institute  
Last updated: Thursday, February 27, 2020