FMCSA changing ‘high risk carrier’ definition

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Updated Mar 10, 2016

csa-basic-alertsThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued Monday a notice updating the definition of a “high risk motor carrier” and making changes to the investigation procedures associated with such carriers.

The agency will now deem carriers high risk if they have a ranking of 90th percentile or higher in two or more of the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in the Compliance, Safety, Accountability’s Safety Measurement System for two consecutive months and haven’t received an on-site investigation in the previous 18 months.

As part of FMCSA’s revamping of its CSA program, the agency is changing the carrier prioritization process to allow investigators to be able to take more immediate action against carriers with the highest crash risk, the agency says.

FMCSA says the new definition will include a smaller number of carriers, but the group of carriers will have a greater crash risk than carriers identified under the current definition. The newly defined list will take top investigative priority, FMCSA says in its notice. The agency says the prioritization system will allow it to conduct more timely investigations of carriers defined as high risk, instead of placing carriers in a longer line of investigations.

Additionally, FMCSA says it will identify and monitor other carriers with significant crash risk using risk management tools recommended by an independent review team.

The CSA’s Safety Measurement System percentile rankings were removed from public view with the passage of the FAST Act highway bill in December. The Department of Transportation and law enforcement are still using the scores to target carriers for intervention. The “absolute measures” that make up the percentile rankings were returned to public view Monday with the monthly update of the SMS system.

Comments on this notice can be made here until May 6, or by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0439 at