The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a notice to advise the trucking industry that it has changed the definition of “high risk motor carrier,” along with the investigative process associated with the safety category. The changes were recommended by a Federal Aviation Administration Independent Review Team in 2014 to improve the timeliness of investigator actions on those motor carriers representing the highest risk.
Under the previous policy, non-passenger carriers that meet or exceed specific Safety Measurement System BASIC intervention thresholds for two consecutive months required an onsite investigation within 12 months unless they had already had one within the previous two years. The review team noted that such policy failed to specify which carriers required the most urgent attention and failed to allow for dynamic risk management.
For these reasons, FMCSA has now adopted a new definition that classifies non-passenger carriers as high risk if they have two or more BASIC scores at or above the 90th percentile in the categories most closely correlated with crash risk for two consecutive months and have not received an onsite investigation in the previous 18 months. The new definition will identify a smaller number of carriers, but this group of carriers will have a higher crash risk.
The newly defined high risk list will be the agency’s investigative priority. It will allow the agency to more promptly conduct investigations of carriers that pose the greatest risk to public safety, rather than placing carriers at high crash risk in a longer queue of investigations.
To address those carriers with poor safety performance that will no longer fall under the high risk definition, FMCSA will identify and monitor additional carriers with significant crash risk using dynamic risk management tools recommend by the review team. The term “dynamic risk management” refers to the techniques and processes the agency managers will use to evaluate the safety performance of carriers on the moderate-risk, risk and monitor lists and to reprioritize the carriers as needed. Safety performance data analysis tools were developed to support the dynamic management decision-making process. The term “mandatory” will no longer be used to identify carriers for investigation prioritization.
FMCSA will also introduce other prioritization changes over the next year to address carriers with significant indicators of non-compliance and to improve the agency’s ability to manage risk and respond appropriately based on the best available data. As a result, the agency anticipates conducting a similar number of investigations as are currently conducted.