How is the FMCSA Safety Measurement System (SMS) used?

The SMS evaluates the safety of individual motor carriers by considering all safety-based roadside inspection violations, not just out-of service violations, as well as State-reported crashes, using 24 months of performance data.

Carriers are evaluated only on inspections and crashes associated with their own U.S. DOT Number, so only violations that a driver receives while working for a motor carrier apply to that carrier’s SMS evaluation. Therefore, the driver’s violation history before the driver is hired and after the driver’s employment is terminated will not impact a motor carrier’s SMS results. However, even if a motor carrier terminates a driver, all of the driver’s crashes and inspection results that he or she received while operating for that carrier still apply to the carrier’s SMS evaluation for 24 months from the date of occurrence. Because the data is time-weighted, the effect of those occurrences on the motor carrier’s percentile rank will diminish over the course of the 24 months.

The Federal and State governments do not calculate or issue a driver “score.” There is no universal evaluation method for drivers.  Neither drivers nor employing motor carriers nor the general public have access to the DSMS.

FMCSA’s Driver SMS (DSMS) does not generate or issue driver safety ratings or “scores.” It does not affect a driver’s commercial driver’s license, or a carrier’s safety rating. DSMS results are not available to motor carriers, drivers, third-party providers, or the public. DSMS results are an investigative tool only available to enforcement officials for examining commercial motor vehicle driver performance as part of CSA investigations. DSMS results are not a measure of a driver’s overall safety condition.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration uses the SMS to:

(1) Identify motor carriers for interventions, such as warning letters, investigations, or roadside inspections.
(2) Determine the specific safety problems of the carrier to focus on during an intervention.
(3) Monitor motor carrier noncompliance issues over time.

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