FMCSA wants to take CSA hazmat category public, change intervention thresholds

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As reported previously in Overdrive, the movement against the public nature of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System’s BASIC category scores has grown exponentially over the year and more following critical Congressional reports on the program. Amid that growth, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing to take yet another BASIC score public, one of several enhancements it’s proposing for the SMS, which the agency uses to measure the safety of motor carriers and prioritize carriers for intervention actions.

In addition to taking the hazmat BASIC public, a move made more significant with the recent policy change integrating hazmat SMS scores into the permitting process, the agency wants to lower the interventional threshold of the vehicle maintenance BASIC to 75 percent from its current 80 percent, thus targeting more carriers, and raise the intervention threshold of the controlled substances BASIC to 90 percent from its current 80 percent, thus targeting fewer carriers.

FMCSA says the changes will better reflect the correlation between crash risk and rankings in the BASICs within CSA’s Safety Measurement System.

It will maintain the 65 percent intervention threshold for the BASICs with the strongest correlation with crash risk — unsafe driving, crash indicator and hours-of-service compliance. FMCSA says that, upon study of its BASICs and crash risk correlation, it determined those three BASICs show the strongest crash risk. It determined the BASICs with the lowest crash risk correlation are the controlled substances/alcohol BASIC, the hazmat compliance BASIC and the driver fitness BASIC.

FMCSA has also proposed to reclassify violations for operating while out of service to the Unsafe Driving BASIC (from whatever BASIC caused the OOS order) and increasing the maximum vehicle miles traveled used in the utilization factor to more accurately reflect operations of high-utilization carriers, it says.

FMCSA says the proposed changes to the SMS are a direct result of feedback from stakeholders and the agency’s ongoing improvement efforts.

The document was published in the Federal Register on Monday, June 29, where it will be open for comments for 30 days. Comments are due by July 29, 2015.

Follow this link or search Docket No. FMCSA–2015-0149 on to comment on the proposed changes. –Todd Dills also contributed to this report.