The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a mandated “Correlation Study Corrective Action Plan” for its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program to Congress.
As reported by Heavy Duty Trucking, FMCSA’s new corrective action plan outlines how the agency will address recommendations made in the National Academy of Sciences’ “Improving Motor Carrier Safety Measurement”report, which examines the effectiveness of the use of the percentile ranks produced by SMS for identifying high-risk carriers, and if not, what alternatives might be preferred.
In addition, that report evaluates the accuracy and sufficiency of the data used by SMS, to assess whether other approaches to identifying unsafe carriers would identify high-risk carriers more effectively, and to reflect on how members of the public use the SMS and what effect making the SMS information public has had on reducing crashes.
FMCSA noted that it has pulled from public view a preview website that displayed changes that the agency had proposed to its Safety Measurement System. Those changes had been “released prior to the NAS report,” so they are now outmoded.
Actions that FMCSA stated it will take in its 10-page corrective action plan include:
- Moving forward to develop and test an IRT model. That model will be used to inform the agency’s work, with opportunities for public input. As recommended by NAS, if the new IRT model performs well, it will replace the existing SMS. FMCSA will not substantively modify SMS while we are testing the IRT model “to ensure we have a stable comparison to evaluate effectiveness.”
- Agreeing that more frequent and more detailed Vehicle Miles Traveled data from motor carriers would reduce the need for FMCSA to use substitute values and would improve the quality of the data in SMS. FMCSA currently only collects carrier VMT data every two years. Access to this data, by State, on a monthly basis is not currently feasible, but the agency will continue to identify possible sources for this important data.
- Agreeing that additional information about carrier operations might improve the agency’s analysis and identification of non-compliant motor carriers. However, the collection of this data would come at a cost, and the benefits are unknown.
- Agreeing that there could be benefits from making MCMIS data available to researchers and carriers. As a result, the agency’s first effort will be to improve data availability. FMCSA will develop a web page where researchers, carriers, safety consultants, and the public can obtain simplified MCMIS data snapshots.
- Gathering public input from motor carriers, insurance companies, and shippers regarding the ways in which the public uses SMS data. Using the data collected in these public listening sessions, FMCSA will scope and complete a study specific to the issue of percentile ranks and the usability of public scores.
- Once IRT modeling is complete, FMCSA will evaluate the use of absolute measures for set intervention thresholds. Absolute measures and percentiles are products of the SMS system. At this time, it is not known how these would be affected once the Agency completes the modeling recommended by NAS. Therefore, FMCSA defers action on this recommendation until it is confirmed this would be relevant.