California Motor Carriers - What does the "SMS" mean to you?
California is facing new regulations and enforcement strategies that will affect the transportation industry, but being that we are Californians, we are used to the ever-changing laws, so you might ask yourself what makes these new regs any different from the others? 4 words “Viewable To The Public”.
Do I have your attention now? Good. I will go into detail about what information will be viewable to the public but first let me inform you of 2 systems that the DOT under the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program will be using as tools for safety enforcement come January 1, 2016. : SMS and BASICs.
CSA BASICs – Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories, these categorys set a standard that is meant to identify poor safety performers that are then subject to intervention by the FMCSA. There are 7 categories by which they measure safety. Unsafe Driving, Hours-of-Service Compliance, Vehicle Maintenance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance(Not publicly viewable) and Crash indicator(Not Publicly Viewable).
A Carrier’s measurement for each BASICs depends on the number of adverse safety events (violations related to that BASIC or Crashes), the severity of violations or crashes and when adverse safety events occurred (more recent events are weighted more heavily)., What can be seen on your profile is citations, citation dates, weighted severity, and your safety score; only 2 categories, Crash indictor and Hazardous materials, are NOT viewable to the public. However, Law enforcement agents do have access to all information on these categories and this information can impact your next inspection.
(SMS) Safety Measurement System, Within the CSA 2010 Operational Mode the SMS system uses a motor carrier’s data from road side inspections, including all safety-based violations, State-reported crashes and the Federal motor carrier census to quantify performance in the BASIC’s.
This system has been used to track Motor Carriers Safety Ratings using their DOT numbers to view is safety measures were improving or worsening. However, the system will soon include CA # (California intrastate motor carriers) and will be updating the data to include safety ratings on intrastate motor carriers.
The SMS website is currently operating, you can view this website at https://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS/ However, this system has mostly been tracking USDOT Carriers, they are working to incorporate CA carriers and their safety ratings but this information is not yet current. So, if you are a CA motor carrier and you find your company listed with a zero score, don’t think you are out of the woods yet. Information is still being collected.
CDL Drivers- you can be tracked individually as well. As a driver you will have your own safety score, data compiled from the BASICs program, and incidence’s that are found to be “Driver Error” will have a negative impact on your score. This information can affect your future employment, if your record is found to cause an increase in insurance rates for the carrier looking to hire you.
Motor Carriers- This system will be used to monitor and identify those “At Risk” companies that are at or above the threshold for an intervention, so be aware you may have a target on your back. At this time information is still being imputed into the system, so if you research your company right now and notice that there is a zero score on your profile, you might have bought yourself some time to make improvements to your current situation, if you are aware that improvements need to be made.
We wish the best of luck to everyone, be safe out there!