Among the changes to the SMS display are the integration of safety rating, licensing and insurance information and a reordering of the BASICs to convey how closely performance in those areas relates to the likelihood of crashes.
Among the major changes to the display is the incorporation into one display information previously available only by visiting multiple websites: Compliance, Safety, Accountability program data, safety ratings, and licensing and insurance. The website also displays the Behavior Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) in the order, left to right, that FMCSA has determined are most associated with likelihood of crashes.
FMCSA generally confirmed all of the changes it proposed in November, but it also adopted a few other significant modifications. For example, the agency now is providing carriers with their own Inspection Selection System (ISS) information, including the ISS score, inspection recommendations and the basis for the recommendations.
FMCSA has scheduled two additional educational webinars on Aug. 28 to review the SMS display changes as well as the new policy on handling adjudicated citations, which applies to inspections conducted on or after Aug. 23. Advance registration for the webinars is required; the earlier session appears to be oversubscribed already, but the presentation will be archived and available later on the CSA website.
Even though several organizations have objected to any distribution of SMS data they deem to be flawed, the changes generally have been viewed as an improvement within that context. But at least one group, the Alliance for Safe, Efficient and Competitive Truck Transportation (ASECTT), last week argued that the new display exacerbates one of the group’s biggest concerns: Relying on flawed SMS data as a de facto safety rating.
“The public, shippers and brokers including plaintiff’s bar, with a click of the mouse will be able to see a listing of all carriers with better percentile rankings than their preferred carrier vendor in each of the BASICs,” ASECTT said in an Aug. 1 blog post. The new display will make it easier for plaintiffs to argue that shippers and brokers were negligent in not selecting the safest carrier available based on a listing of all competitors by percentile rankings and peer groups, ASECTT said.
If there is any upside to the new display it is the transparency it introduces into problems with SMS, ASECTT said. “Now that all of the data of all of the peer groups will apparently be made public, the harsh reality of the system's basic flaws and inequity will be clear for all to see.”