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FMCSA rolls out new Safety Measurement System website to show clearer picture of truck companies’ safety records

Written by Steve Gursten Posted September 29th, 2014

How attorneys can use new site to access safety information on  trucking companies and drivers to better protect the public

SMS Safety Measurement System website

Recently, the FMCSA redesigned its Safety Measurement System (SMS) website, and the changes are now live. Every attorney who litigates trucking accident cases  involving serious personal injury should be familiar with this important website.

It contains critical information that can often support new areas for legal discovery, such as into a motor carrier’s negligent entrustment or negligent supervision. The Safety Management System rankings really should be the second thing any attorney should investigate, after the police report.

Here’s the new FMCSA SMS 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 trucking companies and bus companies are safe, and which need more regulatory scrutiny. The information is free and is also available to the public, not just to law enforcement and to attorneys.

The agency says the changes to the site aim to put a greater emphasis on the elements of the SMS that correlate with truck accident risk and to make the site easier for carriers to see how they can improve their ratings and operate more safely.

In addition, the educational aspect of the site has been greatly improved. The FMCSA also aimed to make it less cumbersome for third parties or members of the public who use the system to interpret the SMS rankings. SMS rankings are based upon the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs). The most noteworthy changes to the website include:

  • Reordering BASIC listings so the categories that correlate most with crash risk now appear at or near the top;
  • Highlighting carriers’ absolute performance trends in each category rather than percentile rankings;
  • Diminishing the prominence of a Motor Carrier’s SMS rankings or scores by moving the rankings from the Motor Carrier’s summary to deeper within its profile.

Coinciding with the newly redesigned the site, the FMCSA is also offering three webinars to assist motor carriers and truck drivers, (or at least those truck drivers who are seriously about highway safety), to learn about the brand new changes and how to use the SMS effectively to monitor and improve safety.

This new redesign is going to make it easier for truck and bus companies, law enforcement and attorneys who litigate the cases involving trucks and buses to access critical information about safety. And the new SMS website also allows  shippers and brokers to better evaluate the safety of the motor carriers they select before putting 80,000-pound loads of freight on our roads.

Related information:

About the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations

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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