Improvements to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS), 18298-18302 [2012-7360]

Download as PDF 18298 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 27, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES FAA Order 1050.1E, Appendix A, Section 13.2a describes the FAA policy to conserve resources such as energy, and the requirement ‘‘to identify any proposed major changes in stationary facilities or the movement of aircraft and ground vehicles that would have a measurable effect on local supplies of energy or natural resources.’’ FAA Order 1050.1E, Appendix A, Section 14.5e states that for ‘‘air traffic airspace actions where the study area is larger than the immediate vicinity of an airport, incorporates more than one airport, or includes actions above 3,000 feet [Above Ground Level—AGL], noise modeling will be conducted using [the Noise Integrated Routing System— NIRS].’’ The FAA developed the AEDT 2a to model aircraft noise, fuel burn, and emissions for air traffic airspace and procedure actions for which the use of NIRS is currently required. AEDT 2a has the capability to model aircraft performance based on fleet mix, airport configuration, and operations schedule. These data are used to compute aircraft noise, fuel burn and emissions simultaneously. By standardizing these data, AEDT 2a will help FAA stakeholders make more informed decisions on specific environmental impacts of aviation. Policy Statement Effective March 21, 2012, AEDT 2a is the required tool for noise, fuel burn, and emissions modeling of air traffic airspace and procedure actions where the study area is larger than the immediate vicinity of an airport, incorporates more than one airport, or includes actions above 3,000 feet AGL. Consistent with current FAA policy and practice, the use of AEDT 2a is not required for projects whose analysis began before the effective date of this policy. In the event AEDT 2a is updated after the environmental analysis process if underway, the updated version may, but need not, be used to provide additional disclosure concerning noise, fuel burn, and emissions. FAA–AEE has approved AEDT 2a as an ‘‘equivalent methodology’’ to EDMS for developing aircraft-only emissions inventories when required for air traffic airspace and procedure actions. FAA–AEE has approved AEDT 2a to analyze fuel burn to inform the discussion of energy impacts and to assist in assessing greenhouse gas emissions for air traffic airspace and procedure actions. FAA–AEE has issued AEDT 2a to replace NIRS as the required tool to analyze noise and fuel burn for air traffic airspace and procedure actions. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 26, 2012 Jkt 226001 This policy statement is issued to ensure consistency and quality of analysis performed to comply with requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended, 42 United States Code (U.S.C.) §§ 4321 et seq. Issued in Washington, DC, on March 21, 2012. Lourdes Q. Maurice, Executive Director, Office of Environment and Energy. [FR Doc. 2012–7354 Filed 3–26–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–13–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA 2012–0074] Improvements to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice; request for public comment. AGENCY: FMCSA announces planned improvements to the Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS) which was implemented in December 2010 as part of the Agency’s broader Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) initiative. A preview of these improvements will be available to motor carriers and law enforcement on March 27, 2012. The system changes are scheduled to be available to the public in July 2012. There will be additional opportunity for public comment on the changes after the preview period ends in July 2012. The improvements to SMS announced in this notice are based on ongoing analysis and feedback from enforcement personnel, the motor carrier industry, and other stakeholders. The changes more effectively identify and prioritize high-risk and other unsafe motor carriers for enforcement interventions designed to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes and hazardous materials incidents. Starting on March 27, 2012, FMCSA will provide motor carriers with the ability to preview how the improvements impact their individual safety data in SMS. These improvements include: (1) Changes to the SMS methodology that identify higher risk carriers while addressing industry biases; (2) better applications of SMS results for Agency interventions by more accurately identifying safety sensitive carriers (i.e., carriers SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00097 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 transporting people and carriers hauling hazardous materials (HM)), so that such firms can be selected for CSA interventions at more stringent levels; and, (3) more specific fact-based displays of SMS results on the SMS Web site. The data preview may be found at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/. During the data preview period, the Agency requests comments on the impacts of the changes. DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 29, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA– 2012–0074 by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 1- 202–493–2251. • Mail: Docket Management Facility, (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room 12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. All submissions must include the Agency name and docket number for this notice. See the ‘‘Public Participation’’ heading below for instructions on submitting comments and additional information. Note that all comments received, including any personal information provided, will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. Please see the ‘‘Privacy Act’’ heading below. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or to Room W12–140 on the ground floor of the DOT Headquarters Building at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s Privacy Act System of Records Notice for the DOT Federal Docket Management System published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 27, 2012 / Notices http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/ E8-785.pdf. Public Participation: The http:// www.regulations.gov Web site is generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the ‘‘help’’ section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Comments received after the comment closing date will be included in the docket, and will be considered to the extent practicable. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bryan Price, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1300, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, Telephone 412–395–4816, EMail: bryan.price@dot.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In December 2010, FMCSA implemented SMS to identify high-risk motor carriers for on-site investigations consistent with Section 4138 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, Transportation Equity Act, and Public Law 109–59 (Aug.10, 2005) (SAFETEA–LU). SMS is also used to identify and prioritize motor carriers for less resource intensive interventions, such as automated warning letters, and serves as a principal factor in roadside inspection software designed to recommend motor carriers with known performance and compliance problems for additional inspections. Furthermore, SMS now provides motor carriers and other safety stakeholders with regularly updated safety performance data available through the public Web site http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS. Select intervention efficiency and effectiveness concepts from the intervention component of the CSA model were also implemented nationally in December 2010. These concepts include: 1. Automated Warning Letters; 2. Focused Compliance Reviews; 3. Direct Notices of Violation (NOV); 4. Investigation of Red Flag Driver Violations during all Compliance Reviews; and 5. Selection of drivers for examination during carrier investigations based on an internal selection system (the Driver Safety Management System). Elements of the CSA model that remain to be implemented in future phases include more comprehensive implementation of the full suite of CSA interventions (e.g., off-site investigations and cooperative safety plans (CSPs)) and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) recommending an improved approach to safety fitness determinations of motor carriers. The Agency also uses this notice to discuss its evaluation of crash weighting VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 26, 2012 Jkt 226001 in SMS. FMCSA is looking at various options within SMS to identify carriers that have the greatest risk of future crashes. As part of this effort, FMCSA has been looking at methods for determining crash preventability and accountability, and how crashes would be weighted in SMS. The increased weighting would identify carriers that are causing crashes, and prioritize them for intervention. In researching this issue, FMCSA identified several areas where additional data and further study are needed before moving forward with a proposal on the weighting of crashes in SMS. These areas include evaluating the uniformity and consistency of police accident reports; determining a process for assessing crashes in a uniform and consistent manner; creating a process for accepting public input into the process; and determining the actual effect on SMS’s ability to identify carriers that have a high risk of crashes. As a result, the Agency is conducting additional research and analysis to determine the feasibility of different weighting for crashes in SMS based on an objective set of criteria. Safety Measurement System SMS quantifies the safety performance of motor carriers using data available in FMCSA’s motor carrier database, the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). This database includes violations found during roadside inspections, traffic enforcement, and the intervention process. SMS currently groups these data into seven Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances and Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo Related, and Crash History. For further detailed information on the current structure of SMS, see the SMS Methodology at http:// csa.fmcsa.dot.gov. SMS currently has sufficient data to assess the safety performance of approximately 200,000 of the 525,000 active interstate and intrastate HM motor carriers in FMCSA’s census files (approximately 38 percent). FMCSA’s analysis showed that the 200,000 carriers assessed in the March 2011 run of SMS were involved in over 90% of the crashes reported to FMCSA from April to June 2011. Of those 200,000 carriers, over 50,000 exceeded the intervention threshold in at least one BASIC and were identified for Agency interventions. Additionally, these 50,000 carriers (approximately 10 percent of the total active population) were responsible for 45% percent of the PO 00000 Frm 00098 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18299 recorded crashes. FMCSA’s analysis, therefore, found very strong associations between future crash risk and high percentiles in the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours of Service), and Crash BASICs of SMS. Independent evaluation of SMS data by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) determined that crash rates were higher for motor carriers identified with safety problems in SMS’s seven BASICs. In particular, UMTRI found that motor carriers falling above FMCSA’s intervention threshold in the Unsafe Driving BASIC had crash rates that were more than three times greater than the crash rate for motor carriers without any BASICs above FMCSA’s intervention threshold. Similarly, UMTRI found that the crash rate for motor carriers above FMCSA’s intervention threshold in the Fatigued Driving (Hours of Service) BASIC was nearly three times greater than the crash rate for motor carriers without any BASICs above FMCSA’s intervention threshold. Details on the full UMTRI report can be found at http:// csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/UMTRI.aspx. From the start of CSA, FMCSA expected to modify SMS as new data and additional analyses became available. To date, FMCSA has made a number of enhancements to SMS based on feedback from State partners, industry, and safety advocates. Moving forward, FMCSA plans to apply a systematic approach to making improvements to SMS, prioritizing and releasing packages of improvements as needed, and providing an SMS preview period for law enforcement and motor carriers prior to implementation. These improvements are the Agency’s response to findings from its ongoing analyses of data, input from law enforcement, the motor carrier industry, and other safety stakeholders. This package of SMS enhancements includes: 1. Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by moving cargo/ load securement violations from the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC; 2. Simultaneously renaming the Cargo-Related BASIC the HM BASIC, which will better identify HM-related safety problems and change how HM carriers are classified to allow for increased intervention scrutiny; 3. Better aligning SMS with Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) regulations; 4. Aligning violations that are included in SMS with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection levels by eliminating the vehicle violations derived from driver- E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 18300 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 27, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections; 5. Improving the identification of passenger carriers; and 6. Modifying the SMS Web site display to: a. Change current terminology, including the terms ‘‘Insufficient Data’’ and ‘‘Inconclusive,’’ to fact-based definitions that clarify the carrier’s status in each BASIC; b. Distinguish between crashes with injuries and crashes with fatalities. Individual motor carriers will have an opportunity to preview their performance data so that they can determine the impact of SMS improvements on their company’s information in advance of the public release. The Agency also seeks comments on the impacts of these changes. To view their company’s data, motor carriers will have to enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN). Motor carriers that do not have a PIN, or those that have forgotten their PIN, can go to the following web address for assistance: https://li-public.fmcsa.dot. gov/LIVIEW/PKG_PIN_START. PRC_INTRO. Following the preview period, FMCSA may further refine the new methodology before implementation and release of the revised SMS results to the public. The Agency addresses each of these improvements in turn below. Incorporate Cargo/Load Securement Violations Into the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC Motor carrier industry and enforcement stakeholders have noted that motor carriers predominantly operating open deck trailers (e.g., flatbeds) have significantly higher Cargo-Related BASIC percentiles than those for other groups of operators, because load securement issues for these types of carriers are more readily apparent during roadside inspections. Based on this potential bias, FMCSA has not made the Cargo-Related BASIC performance data available to the public. While cargo/load securement violations comprise 82% of violations recorded in the Cargo-Related BASIC, they comprise just 4% of violations when included in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. FMCSA compared the flatbed bias of the current CargoRelated BASIC with a modified Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. The analysis determined that while the Cargo-Related BASIC identified 66% of flatbed carriers (as identified by industry and FMCSA field staff) as above the intervention threshold in that BASIC, the modified VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 26, 2012 Jkt 226001 Vehicle Maintenance BASIC identified only 21% of these carriers as above the intervention threshold. FMCSA also examined the carriers identified above the intervention threshold (i.e., those in the 80th percentile) in the current Cargo-Related and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs and compared them to carriers identified under the proposed new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. Carriers identified under the new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC had over a 20% higher crash rate. The analysis showed that this approach (1) identifies carriers with a higher crash risk for Agency interventions and (2) effectively addresses the bias associated with carriers that haul open trailers while still holding all carriers accountable for all cargo securement violations. Change the Cargo-Related BASIC to the HM BASIC and Change How HM Carriers Are Identified The presence of HM can greatly exacerbate the consequences of crashes and cargo spills. Because the current Cargo-Related BASIC includes both HM violations and load securement violations, some motor carriers with HM compliance issues do not rise above the FMCSA’s intervention threshold due to the relative weight of general cargo securement violations. FMCSA consulted with enforcement subject matter experts to identify and apply severity weightings to the 239 HM violations contained in the CargoRelated BASIC and 112 additional HM safety-based violations attributable to the motor carrier. The Agency then conducted effectiveness testing to compare the Cargo-Related BASIC with a new BASIC for carriers transporting HM requiring placards to determine which configuration better identified carriers with a high risk of future HM safety violations. The analysis found that the new HM BASIC better identified carriers that would commit future HM violations than the current Cargo-Related BASIC. In addition, FMCSA plans to change how carriers are classified as HM carriers to allow increased intervention scrutiny. In August 2011, the criteria for identifying carriers subject to the more stringent HM intervention thresholds were changed to any carrier with HM activity (i.e., a placarded HM inspection, review, or permit) in the past two years rather than identifying carriers based on the HM commodities noted on the MCS–150 registration form. Under these criteria, it was determined that some carriers inadvertently transport placarded HM loads or that an extremely small percentage of their loads involved PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 placarded HM. FMCSA conducted an analysis to establish new criteria for excluding carriers that transport HM as a minimal part of their business. These criteria took two forms: (1) requiring HM activity within the last 24 months, excluding carriers that have not transported HM in over a year, and (2) requiring that placardable HM inspections constitute a sizable proportion of the carrier’s total inspections. This change resulted in exclusion of approximately 11,500 of the 24,000 carriers currently subject to HM thresholds, while still encompassing 94% of the placardable HM inspections recorded in the past 24 months. FMCSA is applying the new criteria to focus intervention resources on carriers involved in the transportation of HM requiring placards. For a carrier to be subject to the HM threshold, that carrier must have at least two inspections on a vehicle transporting HM requiring placards, within the past 24 months, with one inspection occurring within the past 12 months, and making up at least five percent of the motor carrier’s total inspections. In addition, any motor carrier that has an FMCSA HM safety permit or that has been identified as a carrier of placarded quantities of HM from an investigation in the last 24 months will be subject to the increased intervention scrutiny. The methodology applies a more stringent intervention threshold for these carriers transporting HM. The Agency created a new HM BASIC that includes only HM-related violations and inspections on carriers involved in the transportation of HM requiring placards. This change allows the Agency to better identify HM-related safety issues for CSA interventions. Apply Carrier-Based Violations on Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) Trailers to the Vehicle BASIC Currently, SMS does not include any roadside violations on an intermodal chassis when there is an associated IEP. FMCSA chose not to include these violations in the first versions of SMS because FMCSA was still in the process of identifying those violations attributable to the motor carrier and those attributable to the IEP. Section 390.44 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, states that an IEP will not be held responsible for such violations because a motor carrier indicated pursuant to 49 CFR 392.7(b) that the chassis components, parts, or accessories had no safety defects at the time of the pre-trip inspection. Because of this, some of the violations found during a roadside inspection will be the E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 27, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES responsibility of the motor carrier. For example, when an IEP interchanges a chassis with a motor carrier, the driver is required under 49 CFR 392.7(b) to conduct a pre-trip inspection to determine if that chassis is in good working order. If defects are found during the pre-trip inspection, the driver has the opportunity to alert the IEP of such defects. The IEP, in turn, is required to either repair the defect or replace the equipment prior to the driver’s departure. Violations that should have been detected during a pretrip inspection but are later found during a roadside inspection become the responsibility of the motor carrier and thus should be applied in SMS. FMCSA worked collaboratively with law enforcement officials and industry personnel, both on the motor carrier and IEP sides, to identify the violations that could reasonably be found during a pretrip inspection of an IEP chassis. A copy of the violation attribution decision process and associated violations can be found on our web site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/ rulesregs/IEP/Visio-ViolationAttribution-07182011_508.pdf. In cases where (1) the driver conducted a pre-trip inspection, and (2) the violation is considered pre-trip detectable, the violation is attributed to the motor carrier. FMCSA applied this rule to the past 24 months of roadside inspections, resulting in approximately 22,000 violations included in the SMS Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. Eliminate Vehicle Violations From ‘‘Driver-Only’’ Inspections and Driver Violations From ‘‘Vehicle-Only’’ Inspections Currently, SMS includes Level 3 (Driver-Only) inspections in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC only when vehicle violations are noted on the inspection report. Industry and enforcement personnel expressed concern that many vehicle violations fall outside the scope of the inspection and could bias the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC data. This bias is created by the fact that driveronly inspections count against the Vehicle BASIC assessments when vehicle violations are documented but do not count as a clean inspection toward the Vehicle BASIC when vehicle violations are not noted. Moreover, CVSA policy is that items not indicated in the inspection procedure for a particular level inspection, for example, a Level 3 (Driver-Only) inspection, should not be included on the inspection report. FMCSA is therefore removing vehicle violations found during driver-only inspections and driver violations found VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 26, 2012 Jkt 226001 during vehicle-only inspections to bring SMS into alignment with existing CVSA policies regarding protocol for different inspection levels. FMCSA evaluated the extent to which inspectors are citing vehicle violations during driver-only inspections to confirm that this problem merits the attention that stakeholders have suggested. Approximately 139,000 violations, or 2.6 percent of all vehicle violations used in SMS, are vehicle violations cited during a driver-only inspection. While very few driver violations are ever documented in vehicle-only inspections, this change will also be made to ensure that only violations within the scope of a particular type of inspection are included in SMS. When a vehicle violation is discovered during a Level 3 inspection, FMCSA strongly encourages the roadside inspector to convert the inspection to a Level 2 inspection where documentation of vehicle violations is appropriate. If the roadside inspector is not certified to conduct Level 2 inspections, the roadside inspector can still address the unsafe condition through State citations or warnings. Identify Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers and Apply a More Stringent Passenger Carrier Intervention Threshold Motor carriers subject to the passenger carrier intervention threshold in SMS are held to a significantly higher standard than non-passenger carriers. Enforcement stakeholders support updating the definition of passenger carrier within SMS to better focus FMCSA resources on carriers involved in passenger transportation. FMCSA is revising the definition of carriers subject to the lower passenger carrier intervention thresholds within SMS. The new criteria add all for-hire carriers that operate 9–15 passenger capacity vehicles and private carriers that operate 16-plus passenger capacity vehicles, as these carriers are under FMCSA’s authority. The new criteria exclude carriers that operate only 1–8 passenger capacity vehicles and private carriers that operate only 1–15 passenger capacity vehicles (effectively removing many carriers operating limousines, vans, taxis, etc.), as operation of these vehicles is generally outside most of FMCSA’s regulations. The new criteria also remove carriers where less than 2% of their respective fleets are passenger vehicles, in order to exclude carriers that do not haul passengers as a significant part of their business. FMCSA determined how many carriers would be subject to the PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 18301 passenger carrier intervention threshold under these new criteria. This change would remove 4,200 carriers, while adding 5,700 carriers. Eliminate the Use of the Terms ‘‘Inconclusive’’ and ‘‘Insufficient Data’’ and Distinguish Crash Data Since April 2010, the BASIC summary on SMS online (http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/ sms) has used the term ‘‘inconclusive,’’ to describe carriers that have enough inspections to be assessed but too few violations to warrant being considered for FMCSA interventions, and the term ‘‘insufficient data’’ to describe carriers that do not have enough inspections to produce a robust measure to even be assessed. Stakeholders have asked FMCSA to offer more specific fact-based descriptions, as the terms ‘‘inconclusive’’ and ‘‘insufficient data’’ are perceived to be difficult to understand. FMCSA is providing a preview of the new terminology and the approach to presenting the crash data. The Agency encourages carriers to give feedback on the new terms before they are implemented publicly. For example, rather than displaying ‘‘insufficient data,’’ the site will display a fact-based description such as ‘‘< than 5 inspections,’’ and rather than displaying ‘‘inconclusive,’’ the site will contain a description such as ‘‘no violations within 1 year.’’ Also, in the ‘‘Summary of Activities’’ section of a motor carrier’s information on SMS Online, FMCSA displays a count of recordable crashes broken into ‘‘fatality/injury’’ and ‘‘tow- away.’’ In response to stakeholder requests, FMCSA is separating the combined fatality/injury category into distinct categories: Fatality, injury, and towaway crashes. Implementation As of the publication of this notice, motor carriers will be able to preview how these changes will affect their data and SMS results. During the SMS preview, motor carriers will have the opportunity to review the accuracy of SMS data, provide feedback, and if necessary, take action to improve their safety performance. During the March 2012 SMS Preview, motor carriers should: • View their operational information to determine if they are now subject to placardable HM or passenger carrier intervention thresholds. • View the new HM BASIC to review applicable violations. • View the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC to determine how cargo/load securement violations previously E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1 18302 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 27, 2012 / Notices recorded in the Cargo-Related BASIC impact their Vehicle Maintenance percentiles, and to see which IEPrelated violations have been recorded. • Verify that vehicle violations found during driver-only inspections and driver violations found during vehicleonly inspections have been removed from their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC data. • Review alternative terminology for ‘‘insufficient data’’ and ‘‘inconclusive’’ in the BASIC summary. • View the ‘‘Summary of Activities’’ section of SMS Online to see the new breakout between injury crashes and fatal crashes. FMCSA will collect, assess, and address feedback during the SMS Preview, and may further refine the enhancements prior to public implementation in July 2012. Request for Comments FMCSA requests comments on the above improvements to SMS. Commenters are requested to provide supporting data wherever appropriate. Issued on: March 22, 2012. William Bronrott, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2012–7360 Filed 3–26–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2012–0043] Qualification of Drivers; Exemption Applications; Diabetes Mellitus Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of applications for exemption from the diabetes mellitus requirement; request for comments. AGENCY: FMCSA announces receipt of applications from 16 individuals for exemption from the prohibition against persons with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. If granted, the exemptions would enable these individuals with ITDM to operate CMVs in interstate commerce. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Comments must be received on or before April 26, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket No. FMCSA– 2012–0043 using any of the following methods: DATES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:14 Mar 26, 2012 Jkt 226001 • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays. • Fax: 1–202–493–2251. Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket numbers for this notice. Note that all comments received will be posted without change to http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. Please see the Privacy Act heading below for further information. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments, go to http:// www.regulations.gov at any time or Room W12–140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a selfaddressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting comments on-line. Privacy Act: Anyone may search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or of the person signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 (73 FR 3316), or you may visit http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/ E8-785.pdf. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elaine M. Papp, Chief, Medical Programs Division, (202) 366–4001, fmcsamedical@dot.gov, FMCSA, Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W64– 224, Washington, DC 20590–0001. Office hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00101 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Background Under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315, FMCSA may grant an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for a 2-year period if it finds ‘‘such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.’’ The statute also allows the Agency to renew exemptions at the end of the 2-year period. The 16 individuals listed in this notice have recently requested such an exemption from the diabetes prohibition in 49 CFR 391.41(b)(3), which applies to drivers of CMVs in interstate commerce. Accordingly, the Agency will evaluate the qualifications of each applicant to determine whether granting the exemption will achieve the required level of safety mandated by the statutes. Qualifications of Applicants Ross J. Brown Mr. Brown, age 59, has had ITDM since 2010. His endocrinologist examined him in 2011 and certified that he has had no severe hypoglycemic reactions resulting in loss of consciousness, requiring the assistance of another person, or resulting in impaired cognitive function that occurred without warning in the past 12 months and no recurrent (2 or more) severe hypoglycemic episodes in the last 5 years. His endocrinologist certifies that Mr. Brown understands diabetes management and monitoring, has stable control of his diabetes using insulin, and is able to drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) safely. Mr. Brown meets the vision requirements of 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). His ophthalmologist examined him in 2011 and certified that he does not have diabetic retinopathy. He holds a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) from Michigan. Bert R. Duncan, II Mr. Duncan, 49, has had ITDM since 2004. His endocrinologist examined him in 2011 and certified that he has had no severe hypoglycemic reactions resulting in loss of consciousness, requiring the assistance of another person, or resulting in impaired cognitive function that occurred without warning in the past 12 months and no recurrent (2 or more) severe hypoglycemic episodes in the last 5 years. His endocrinologist certifies that Mr. Duncan understands diabetes management and monitoring, has stable control of his diabetes using insulin, and is able to drive a CMV safely. Mr. Duncan meets the vision requirements of 49 CFR 391.41(b)(10). His optometrist examined him in 2011 and certified that he does not have E:\FR\FM\27MRN1.SGM 27MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 59 (Tuesday, March 27, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18298-18302]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7360]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA 2012-0074]


Improvements to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) 
Motor Carrier Safety Measurement System (SMS)

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.

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SUMMARY: FMCSA announces planned improvements to the Carrier Safety 
Measurement System (SMS) which was implemented in December 2010 as part 
of the Agency's broader Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) 
initiative. A preview of these improvements will be available to motor 
carriers and law enforcement on March 27, 2012. The system changes are 
scheduled to be available to the public in July 2012. There will be 
additional opportunity for public comment on the changes after the 
preview period ends in July 2012.
    The improvements to SMS announced in this notice are based on 
ongoing analysis and feedback from enforcement personnel, the motor 
carrier industry, and other stakeholders. The changes more effectively 
identify and prioritize high-risk and other unsafe motor carriers for 
enforcement interventions designed to reduce commercial motor vehicle 
crashes and hazardous materials incidents.
    Starting on March 27, 2012, FMCSA will provide motor carriers with 
the ability to preview how the improvements impact their individual 
safety data in SMS. These improvements include: (1) Changes to the SMS 
methodology that identify higher risk carriers while addressing 
industry biases; (2) better applications of SMS results for Agency 
interventions by more accurately identifying safety sensitive carriers 
(i.e., carriers transporting people and carriers hauling hazardous 
materials (HM)), so that such firms can be selected for CSA 
interventions at more stringent levels; and, (3) more specific fact-
based displays of SMS results on the SMS Web site.
    The data preview may be found at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/. During 
the data preview period, the Agency requests comments on the impacts of 
the changes.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before May 29, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments identified by Federal Docket 
Management System Number FMCSA-2012-0074 by any of the following 
methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: 1- 202-493-2251.
     Mail: Docket Management Facility, (M-30), U.S. Department 
of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, 
Ground Floor, Room 12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
     Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. 
and 5 p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The 
telephone number is 202-366-9329.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. All 
submissions must include the Agency name and docket number for this 
notice. See the ``Public Participation'' heading below for instructions 
on submitting comments and additional information.
    Note that all comments received, including any personal information 
provided, will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov. 
Please see the ``Privacy Act'' heading below.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov at any time or to 
Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT Headquarters Building at 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 
p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
Privacy Act System of Records Notice for the DOT Federal Docket 
Management System published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2008 
(73 FR 3316), or you may visit

[[Page 18299]]

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.
    Public Participation: The http://www.regulations.gov Web site is 
generally available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. You can get 
electronic submission and retrieval help and guidelines under the 
``help'' section of the http://www.regulations.gov Web site. Comments 
received after the comment closing date will be included in the docket, 
and will be considered to the extent practicable.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Bryan Price, Federal Motor Carrier 
Safety Administration, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Suite 1300, Pittsburgh, PA 
15222, Telephone 412-395-4816, E-Mail: bryan.price@dot.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In December 2010, FMCSA implemented SMS to 
identify high-risk motor carriers for on-site investigations consistent 
with Section 4138 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient, 
Transportation Equity Act, and Public Law 109-59 (Aug.10, 2005) 
(SAFETEA-LU).
    SMS is also used to identify and prioritize motor carriers for less 
resource intensive interventions, such as automated warning letters, 
and serves as a principal factor in roadside inspection software 
designed to recommend motor carriers with known performance and 
compliance problems for additional inspections. Furthermore, SMS now 
provides motor carriers and other safety stakeholders with regularly 
updated safety performance data available through the public Web site 
http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/SMS.
    Select intervention efficiency and effectiveness concepts from the 
intervention component of the CSA model were also implemented 
nationally in December 2010. These concepts include:
    1. Automated Warning Letters;
    2. Focused Compliance Reviews;
    3. Direct Notices of Violation (NOV);
    4. Investigation of Red Flag Driver Violations during all 
Compliance Reviews; and
    5. Selection of drivers for examination during carrier 
investigations based on an internal selection system (the Driver Safety 
Management System).
    Elements of the CSA model that remain to be implemented in future 
phases include more comprehensive implementation of the full suite of 
CSA interventions (e.g., off-site investigations and cooperative safety 
plans (CSPs)) and the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) recommending 
an improved approach to safety fitness determinations of motor 
carriers.
    The Agency also uses this notice to discuss its evaluation of crash 
weighting in SMS. FMCSA is looking at various options within SMS to 
identify carriers that have the greatest risk of future crashes. As 
part of this effort, FMCSA has been looking at methods for determining 
crash preventability and accountability, and how crashes would be 
weighted in SMS. The increased weighting would identify carriers that 
are causing crashes, and prioritize them for intervention. In 
researching this issue, FMCSA identified several areas where additional 
data and further study are needed before moving forward with a proposal 
on the weighting of crashes in SMS. These areas include evaluating the 
uniformity and consistency of police accident reports; determining a 
process for assessing crashes in a uniform and consistent manner; 
creating a process for accepting public input into the process; and 
determining the actual effect on SMS's ability to identify carriers 
that have a high risk of crashes. As a result, the Agency is conducting 
additional research and analysis to determine the feasibility of 
different weighting for crashes in SMS based on an objective set of 
criteria.

Safety Measurement System

    SMS quantifies the safety performance of motor carriers using data 
available in FMCSA's motor carrier database, the Motor Carrier 
Management Information System (MCMIS). This database includes 
violations found during roadside inspections, traffic enforcement, and 
the intervention process. SMS currently groups these data into seven 
Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs): Unsafe 
Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, 
Controlled Substances and Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo Related, 
and Crash History. For further detailed information on the current 
structure of SMS, see the SMS Methodology at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov.
    SMS currently has sufficient data to assess the safety performance 
of approximately 200,000 of the 525,000 active interstate and 
intrastate HM motor carriers in FMCSA's census files (approximately 38 
percent). FMCSA's analysis showed that the 200,000 carriers assessed in 
the March 2011 run of SMS were involved in over 90% of the crashes 
reported to FMCSA from April to June 2011. Of those 200,000 carriers, 
over 50,000 exceeded the intervention threshold in at least one BASIC 
and were identified for Agency interventions. Additionally, these 
50,000 carriers (approximately 10 percent of the total active 
population) were responsible for 45% percent of the recorded crashes. 
FMCSA's analysis, therefore, found very strong associations between 
future crash risk and high percentiles in the Unsafe Driving, Fatigued 
Driving (Hours of Service), and Crash BASICs of SMS.
    Independent evaluation of SMS data by the University of Michigan 
Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) determined that crash rates 
were higher for motor carriers identified with safety problems in SMS's 
seven BASICs. In particular, UMTRI found that motor carriers falling 
above FMCSA's intervention threshold in the Unsafe Driving BASIC had 
crash rates that were more than three times greater than the crash rate 
for motor carriers without any BASICs above FMCSA's intervention 
threshold. Similarly, UMTRI found that the crash rate for motor 
carriers above FMCSA's intervention threshold in the Fatigued Driving 
(Hours of Service) BASIC was nearly three times greater than the crash 
rate for motor carriers without any BASICs above FMCSA's intervention 
threshold. Details on the full UMTRI report can be found at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/UMTRI.aspx.
    From the start of CSA, FMCSA expected to modify SMS as new data and 
additional analyses became available. To date, FMCSA has made a number 
of enhancements to SMS based on feedback from State partners, industry, 
and safety advocates.
    Moving forward, FMCSA plans to apply a systematic approach to 
making improvements to SMS, prioritizing and releasing packages of 
improvements as needed, and providing an SMS preview period for law 
enforcement and motor carriers prior to implementation. These 
improvements are the Agency's response to findings from its ongoing 
analyses of data, input from law enforcement, the motor carrier 
industry, and other safety stakeholders. This package of SMS 
enhancements includes:
    1. Strengthening the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC by moving cargo/load 
securement violations from the Cargo-Related BASIC to the Vehicle 
Maintenance BASIC;
    2. Simultaneously renaming the Cargo-Related BASIC the HM BASIC, 
which will better identify HM-related safety problems and change how HM 
carriers are classified to allow for increased intervention scrutiny;
    3. Better aligning SMS with Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) 
regulations;
    4. Aligning violations that are included in SMS with the Commercial 
Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection levels by eliminating the 
vehicle violations derived from driver-

[[Page 18300]]

only inspections and driver violations from vehicle-only inspections;
    5. Improving the identification of passenger carriers; and
    6. Modifying the SMS Web site display to:
    a. Change current terminology, including the terms ``Insufficient 
Data'' and ``Inconclusive,'' to fact-based definitions that clarify the 
carrier's status in each BASIC;
    b. Distinguish between crashes with injuries and crashes with 
fatalities.
    Individual motor carriers will have an opportunity to preview their 
performance data so that they can determine the impact of SMS 
improvements on their company's information in advance of the public 
release. The Agency also seeks comments on the impacts of these 
changes. To view their company's data, motor carriers will have to 
enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN). Motor carriers that 
do not have a PIN, or those that have forgotten their PIN, can go to 
the following web address for assistance: https://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/PKG_PIN_START.PRC_INTRO.
    Following the preview period, FMCSA may further refine the new 
methodology before implementation and release of the revised SMS 
results to the public. The Agency addresses each of these improvements 
in turn below.

Incorporate Cargo/Load Securement Violations Into the Vehicle 
Maintenance BASIC

    Motor carrier industry and enforcement stakeholders have noted that 
motor carriers predominantly operating open deck trailers (e.g., 
flatbeds) have significantly higher Cargo-Related BASIC percentiles 
than those for other groups of operators, because load securement 
issues for these types of carriers are more readily apparent during 
roadside inspections. Based on this potential bias, FMCSA has not made 
the Cargo-Related BASIC performance data available to the public.
    While cargo/load securement violations comprise 82% of violations 
recorded in the Cargo-Related BASIC, they comprise just 4% of 
violations when included in the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. FMCSA 
compared the flatbed bias of the current Cargo-Related BASIC with a 
modified Vehicle Maintenance BASIC. The analysis determined that while 
the Cargo-Related BASIC identified 66% of flatbed carriers (as 
identified by industry and FMCSA field staff) as above the intervention 
threshold in that BASIC, the modified Vehicle Maintenance BASIC 
identified only 21% of these carriers as above the intervention 
threshold. FMCSA also examined the carriers identified above the 
intervention threshold (i.e., those in the 80th percentile) in the 
current Cargo-Related and Vehicle Maintenance BASICs and compared them 
to carriers identified under the proposed new Vehicle Maintenance 
BASIC. Carriers identified under the new Vehicle Maintenance BASIC had 
over a 20% higher crash rate. The analysis showed that this approach 
(1) identifies carriers with a higher crash risk for Agency 
interventions and (2) effectively addresses the bias associated with 
carriers that haul open trailers while still holding all carriers 
accountable for all cargo securement violations.

Change the Cargo-Related BASIC to the HM BASIC and Change How HM 
Carriers Are Identified

    The presence of HM can greatly exacerbate the consequences of 
crashes and cargo spills. Because the current Cargo-Related BASIC 
includes both HM violations and load securement violations, some motor 
carriers with HM compliance issues do not rise above the FMCSA's 
intervention threshold due to the relative weight of general cargo 
securement violations.
    FMCSA consulted with enforcement subject matter experts to identify 
and apply severity weightings to the 239 HM violations contained in the 
Cargo-Related BASIC and 112 additional HM safety-based violations 
attributable to the motor carrier. The Agency then conducted 
effectiveness testing to compare the Cargo-Related BASIC with a new 
BASIC for carriers transporting HM requiring placards to determine 
which configuration better identified carriers with a high risk of 
future HM safety violations. The analysis found that the new HM BASIC 
better identified carriers that would commit future HM violations than 
the current Cargo-Related BASIC.
    In addition, FMCSA plans to change how carriers are classified as 
HM carriers to allow increased intervention scrutiny. In August 2011, 
the criteria for identifying carriers subject to the more stringent HM 
intervention thresholds were changed to any carrier with HM activity 
(i.e., a placarded HM inspection, review, or permit) in the past two 
years rather than identifying carriers based on the HM commodities 
noted on the MCS-150 registration form. Under these criteria, it was 
determined that some carriers inadvertently transport placarded HM 
loads or that an extremely small percentage of their loads involved 
placarded HM. FMCSA conducted an analysis to establish new criteria for 
excluding carriers that transport HM as a minimal part of their 
business. These criteria took two forms: (1) requiring HM activity 
within the last 24 months, excluding carriers that have not transported 
HM in over a year, and (2) requiring that placardable HM inspections 
constitute a sizable proportion of the carrier's total inspections. 
This change resulted in exclusion of approximately 11,500 of the 24,000 
carriers currently subject to HM thresholds, while still encompassing 
94% of the placardable HM inspections recorded in the past 24 months.
    FMCSA is applying the new criteria to focus intervention resources 
on carriers involved in the transportation of HM requiring placards. 
For a carrier to be subject to the HM threshold, that carrier must have 
at least two inspections on a vehicle transporting HM requiring 
placards, within the past 24 months, with one inspection occurring 
within the past 12 months, and making up at least five percent of the 
motor carrier's total inspections. In addition, any motor carrier that 
has an FMCSA HM safety permit or that has been identified as a carrier 
of placarded quantities of HM from an investigation in the last 24 
months will be subject to the increased intervention scrutiny.
    The methodology applies a more stringent intervention threshold for 
these carriers transporting HM. The Agency created a new HM BASIC that 
includes only HM-related violations and inspections on carriers 
involved in the transportation of HM requiring placards. This change 
allows the Agency to better identify HM-related safety issues for CSA 
interventions.

Apply Carrier-Based Violations on Intermodal Equipment Provider (IEP) 
Trailers to the Vehicle BASIC

    Currently, SMS does not include any roadside violations on an 
intermodal chassis when there is an associated IEP. FMCSA chose not to 
include these violations in the first versions of SMS because FMCSA was 
still in the process of identifying those violations attributable to 
the motor carrier and those attributable to the IEP. Section 390.44 of 
title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, states that an IEP will not be 
held responsible for such violations because a motor carrier indicated 
pursuant to 49 CFR 392.7(b) that the chassis components, parts, or 
accessories had no safety defects at the time of the pre-trip 
inspection. Because of this, some of the violations found during a 
roadside inspection will be the

[[Page 18301]]

responsibility of the motor carrier. For example, when an IEP 
interchanges a chassis with a motor carrier, the driver is required 
under 49 CFR 392.7(b) to conduct a pre-trip inspection to determine if 
that chassis is in good working order. If defects are found during the 
pre-trip inspection, the driver has the opportunity to alert the IEP of 
such defects. The IEP, in turn, is required to either repair the defect 
or replace the equipment prior to the driver's departure. Violations 
that should have been detected during a pre-trip inspection but are 
later found during a roadside inspection become the responsibility of 
the motor carrier and thus should be applied in SMS.
    FMCSA worked collaboratively with law enforcement officials and 
industry personnel, both on the motor carrier and IEP sides, to 
identify the violations that could reasonably be found during a pre-
trip inspection of an IEP chassis. A copy of the violation attribution 
decision process and associated violations can be found on our web site 
at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/rulesregs/IEP/Visio-Violation-Attribution-07182011_508.pdf.
    In cases where (1) the driver conducted a pre-trip inspection, and 
(2) the violation is considered pre-trip detectable, the violation is 
attributed to the motor carrier. FMCSA applied this rule to the past 24 
months of roadside inspections, resulting in approximately 22,000 
violations included in the SMS Vehicle Maintenance BASIC.

Eliminate Vehicle Violations From ``Driver-Only'' Inspections and 
Driver Violations From ``Vehicle-Only'' Inspections

    Currently, SMS includes Level 3 (Driver-Only) inspections in the 
Vehicle Maintenance BASIC only when vehicle violations are noted on the 
inspection report. Industry and enforcement personnel expressed concern 
that many vehicle violations fall outside the scope of the inspection 
and could bias the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC data. This bias is created 
by the fact that driver-only inspections count against the Vehicle 
BASIC assessments when vehicle violations are documented but do not 
count as a clean inspection toward the Vehicle BASIC when vehicle 
violations are not noted. Moreover, CVSA policy is that items not 
indicated in the inspection procedure for a particular level 
inspection, for example, a Level 3 (Driver-Only) inspection, should not 
be included on the inspection report.
    FMCSA is therefore removing vehicle violations found during driver-
only inspections and driver violations found during vehicle-only 
inspections to bring SMS into alignment with existing CVSA policies 
regarding protocol for different inspection levels.
    FMCSA evaluated the extent to which inspectors are citing vehicle 
violations during driver-only inspections to confirm that this problem 
merits the attention that stakeholders have suggested. Approximately 
139,000 violations, or 2.6 percent of all vehicle violations used in 
SMS, are vehicle violations cited during a driver-only inspection. 
While very few driver violations are ever documented in vehicle-only 
inspections, this change will also be made to ensure that only 
violations within the scope of a particular type of inspection are 
included in SMS.
    When a vehicle violation is discovered during a Level 3 inspection, 
FMCSA strongly encourages the roadside inspector to convert the 
inspection to a Level 2 inspection where documentation of vehicle 
violations is appropriate. If the roadside inspector is not certified 
to conduct Level 2 inspections, the roadside inspector can still 
address the unsafe condition through State citations or warnings.

Identify Motor Carriers Transporting Passengers and Apply a More 
Stringent Passenger Carrier Intervention Threshold

    Motor carriers subject to the passenger carrier intervention 
threshold in SMS are held to a significantly higher standard than non-
passenger carriers. Enforcement stakeholders support updating the 
definition of passenger carrier within SMS to better focus FMCSA 
resources on carriers involved in passenger transportation.
    FMCSA is revising the definition of carriers subject to the lower 
passenger carrier intervention thresholds within SMS. The new criteria 
add all for-hire carriers that operate 9-15 passenger capacity vehicles 
and private carriers that operate 16-plus passenger capacity vehicles, 
as these carriers are under FMCSA's authority. The new criteria exclude 
carriers that operate only 1-8 passenger capacity vehicles and private 
carriers that operate only 1-15 passenger capacity vehicles 
(effectively removing many carriers operating limousines, vans, taxis, 
etc.), as operation of these vehicles is generally outside most of 
FMCSA's regulations. The new criteria also remove carriers where less 
than 2% of their respective fleets are passenger vehicles, in order to 
exclude carriers that do not haul passengers as a significant part of 
their business. FMCSA determined how many carriers would be subject to 
the passenger carrier intervention threshold under these new criteria. 
This change would remove 4,200 carriers, while adding 5,700 carriers.

Eliminate the Use of the Terms ``Inconclusive'' and ``Insufficient 
Data'' and Distinguish Crash Data

    Since April 2010, the BASIC summary on SMS online (http://
ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms) has used the term ``inconclusive,'' to describe 
carriers that have enough inspections to be assessed but too few 
violations to warrant being considered for FMCSA interventions, and the 
term ``insufficient data'' to describe carriers that do not have enough 
inspections to produce a robust measure to even be assessed. 
Stakeholders have asked FMCSA to offer more specific fact-based 
descriptions, as the terms ``inconclusive'' and ``insufficient data'' 
are perceived to be difficult to understand.
    FMCSA is providing a preview of the new terminology and the 
approach to presenting the crash data. The Agency encourages carriers 
to give feedback on the new terms before they are implemented publicly. 
For example, rather than displaying ``insufficient data,'' the site 
will display a fact-based description such as ``< than 5 inspections,'' 
and rather than displaying ``inconclusive,'' the site will contain a 
description such as ``no violations within 1 year.''
    Also, in the ``Summary of Activities'' section of a motor carrier's 
information on SMS Online, FMCSA displays a count of recordable crashes 
broken into ``fatality/injury'' and ``tow- away.'' In response to 
stakeholder requests, FMCSA is separating the combined fatality/injury 
category into distinct categories: Fatality, injury, and tow-away 
crashes.

Implementation

    As of the publication of this notice, motor carriers will be able 
to preview how these changes will affect their data and SMS results. 
During the SMS preview, motor carriers will have the opportunity to 
review the accuracy of SMS data, provide feedback, and if necessary, 
take action to improve their safety performance. During the March 2012 
SMS Preview, motor carriers should:
     View their operational information to determine if they 
are now subject to placardable HM or passenger carrier intervention 
thresholds.
     View the new HM BASIC to review applicable violations.
     View the Vehicle Maintenance BASIC to determine how cargo/
load securement violations previously

[[Page 18302]]

recorded in the Cargo-Related BASIC impact their Vehicle Maintenance 
percentiles, and to see which IEP-related violations have been 
recorded.
     Verify that vehicle violations found during driver-only 
inspections and driver violations found during vehicle-only inspections 
have been removed from their Vehicle Maintenance BASIC data.
     Review alternative terminology for ``insufficient data'' 
and ``inconclusive'' in the BASIC summary.
     View the ``Summary of Activities'' section of SMS Online 
to see the new breakout between injury crashes and fatal crashes.
    FMCSA will collect, assess, and address feedback during the SMS 
Preview, and may further refine the enhancements prior to public 
implementation in July 2012.

Request for Comments

    FMCSA requests comments on the above improvements to SMS. 
Commenters are requested to provide supporting data wherever 
appropriate.

    Issued on: March 22, 2012.
 William Bronrott,
 Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2012-7360 Filed 3-26-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P