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FMCSA to revamp the Safety Management System website so truck companies and the public can find truck company safety records

Written by Steve Gursten Posted November 19th, 2013

Improvements to the FMCSA’s online SMS aim to improve access to information and improve transparency in trucking safety

FMCSA SMS websitepng

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently began testing its new and (hopefully) improved Safety Measurement System website. The Safety Management System (SMS) is a site where trucking companies, bus companies or other commercial motor carriers can access safety performance and data. The FMCSA relies upon this data to determine which companies are safe, and which need to be subjected to more regulatory scrutiny. The SMS website is also accessible to the public at large.

The website has been very successful historically. Last year alone, the SMS website hosted over 48 million user sessions, according to the FMCSA.

The new upgrades to the SMS site are largely driven by user comments and suggestions. The changes are slowly being phased in. The FMCSA announced that it plans to hold several webinar conferences to explain the new changes, and to guide users through the new and improved SMS website. The changes can be previewed here.

The explanatory webinars are scheduled for November 18, 21 and 22.

According to the agency, the objective of this initiative is to make the SMS website easier and more intuitive to use for trucking companies, bus companies, and the public;  to consolidate information; and to improve access to information and monitoring tools present on the website.

The FMCSA plans on making the following changes to the website:

  • Displays a carrier’s summary status in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories. Detailed data is available for each category.
  • Offers a tour to explain the revisions.
  • Allows the user download the data for all carriers in the same safety event group, such as inspections or crashes, used to rank the carrier’s BASIC percentile.
  • Highlights a carrier’s performance in each BASIC to identify any trends.
  • Includes a carrier’s safety rating from a compliance review, information that formerly had to taken from a different database.
  • Displays a carrier’s current insurance and authority status.
  • Displays a carrier’s enforcement case history.
  • Offers a variety of customizable displays and graphs to portray safety performance over time.
  • Displays the total number of inspections and a breakdown of the number of inspections with violations.

In addition to these new features, the FMCSA also indicated that carriers can preview their own data using the redesigned format. Further, the public at large will have access to simulated data.

As a lawyer and a supporter of highway safety, I’m thrilled by this coming redesign. It makes it easy for tucking companies and bus companies to find out critical information about safety. This allows those good transport companies and good shippers and brokers who do value safety to investigate safety before putting 80,000 pound loads of freight on the highways.

Related information:

Understanding truck accident law and the FMCSRs

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About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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