The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released an upgrade of its computerized roadside inspection targeting program, known as the Inspection Selection System (ISS). Called ISS-D, it will significantly improve the program's ability to identify and inspect carriers that employ drivers with problematic driving records.

The upgrade includes a Driver Conviction Measure (DCM), which is a weighted average of traffic convictions received during the three years prior to an inspection or crash event. Each conviction is assigned a value between one and three based on both the severity of the offense and how recently it occurred.

In terms of severity, offenses are classified as disqualifying (DUI, for example), serious moving violation or non-serious violation, with the most severe receiving the highest value. Likewise, events that have taken place most recently (0-6 months) are assigned a higher time value.

A driver's DCM is calculated by summing the weighted values of the convictions.

By taking into account the DCM scores for all of a carrier's drivers who have been inspected, ISS-D can generate a Carrier Driver Conviction Measure, or CDCM. The CDCM is an average of the individual DCM scores. (Sum of all DCM scores divided by the number of drivers in the fleet who were inspected.) The higher the CDCM, the bigger the problem a carrier faces in terms of at-risk drivers.

After CDCMs have been calculated, carriers are ranked via the same percentile system used in other SafeStat Safety Evaluation Areas (SEA). Carriers are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest CDCM score and 100 the highest.

A carrier's CDCM ranking is then incorporated into the Safety Management SEA of the ISS-D model, with the ISS score computed according to the weighting scheme of the four SafeStat SEA values (Accident SEA, Driver SEA, Vehicle SEA and Safety Management SEA). FMCSA inserted the CDCM into the Safety Management SEA because it provides a valid gauge of a carrier's driver hiring/retention culture, which is reflective of safety management efforts.

The agency conducted extensive evaluations of the new CDCM and ISS-D algorithm during both design and pilot-testing phases. Positive correlations were established between the CDCM and the following safety performance measures: crashes per power unit; driver out-of-service rate; and vehicle out-of-service rate.

During a three-month, eight-state evaluation of the system, the improved targeting provided by the ISS-D algorithm led to a significant increase in driver out-of-service rates. For example, in four states the driver out-of-service rate jumped to 7.1% from 6.4%.

FMCSA and the Transportation Safety Systems Center Team, led by Brenda Lantz, are to be applauded for their efforts in this improvement to ISS. In short, it now includes a mechanism that, at least in part, targets trucking companies for inspection based on the overall MVR quality of their drivers. Carriers with poor MVRs will be targeted for inspection more frequently than others.

That makes perfect sense, since the body of research has proven time and again that poor MVR quality leads to higher crash rates.

For more information on the ISS-D enhancements, go to the Transportation Safety Systems Center web site: www.ugpti.org/tssc.


Jim York is the ass't. vice president of technical services for Zurich Services Corp. Risk Engineering in Schaumburg, IL.