Checking a Motor Carrier’s Safety Record

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there are approximately 5 million bus and truck drivers that share the road with an estimated 250 million motorists. With so many individuals on the road at any given time, and some vehicles carrying multiple passengers, it is essential to be aware of the measures being taken to ensure road safety for all drivers on the nation’s roads.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has implemented one measure known as the Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS). According to the research, this is an automated data system that is designed to gauge motor carrier on-road safety performance. Essentially, this system uses seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICS), which can then be utilized to alert one to safety problems with individual carriers. This in turn will allow enforcement agencies to know when it is appropriate to intervene.

Although, it is important for one to understand the mechanics of this system equally important is for individuals to be aware that one can check a motor carrier’s safety record. This can be done by using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website specifically geared for the Safety Measurement System, which can be found here.

One can utilize this site and search for operation options, such as Interstate (A), Intrastate Hazmat (B), Intrastate Non-Hazmat (C), as well as the Type: Hazmat, Passenger, as well as New Entrant vehicles. One can also search by location, and even outside of the United States. It is also important to point out that the specific BASIC measures can also be searched for, which includes those measures in specific percentiles.

The Seven Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, BASIC measures are as followed:

  • Unsafe Driving – Examples of unsafe driving include speeding, reckless driving, inattention to the road, improper lane changes, and general danger or careless manner of driving.
  • Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance – These measures specifically relate to the issue of drivers who drive while they are ill, fatigued, as well as those who not comply with some factor of HOS regulations, such as ensuring rules of the road safety while driving.
  • Driver Fitness –Drivers should be fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle, including having a specific amount of training, medical qualifications, experience, and holding a commercial driver’s license. (CDL)
  • Controlled Substances – Drivers who operate a commercial motor vehicle must not be impaired by illegal drugs, misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medication, or alcohol.
  • Vehicle Maintenance – All CMV vehicles must undergo proper monthly maintenance in order to prevent shifting loads. Maintenance must include brakes, mechanical functions, lights, and so forth.
  • Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance – All hazardous materials must be handled correctly when being transported by CMV. This includes release of the HM from package, proper shipping papers, proper markings/placards on containers, and as a whole, following Hazard Materials Regulations.
  • Crash Indicator – A driver’s full crash history will be taken into account, including both the severity and frequency of crashes.

Understanding these measures will allow one to have a better understanding of the CSMS system in place.

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