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FMCSA extends comment period on SMS website enhancements

One of the proposed enhancements to the SMS website is to provide easier, more intuitive navigation and user-friendly features and descriptions to clarify the SMS's role as FMCSA's prioritization tool for interventions.

The Trucker News Services

12/16/2013

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has extended from Jan. 6, 2014, to Jan. 21, 2014, the comment period for the agency’s Nov. 5, 2013, notice requesting public comments on proposed enhancements to the display of information on the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) public website.

The extension was based on the request of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The safety advocacy group on Dec. 6 requested a 60-day extension of the comment period stating that “review of the topic requires considerable experience with the use of the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) website and the SMS data in order to evaluate the display of information, assess the changes and formulate a clear understanding the changes may have on public access and comprehension of the [website] information.”

But the FMCSA determined that a 15-day extension of the comment period is appropriate while a longer extension, as requested by the advocacy group, is unnecessary given the original 60-day comment period and the three educational webinars the agency conducted on Nov. 18, Nov. 21 and Nov. 22.

The proposed website site enhancements seek to accomplish three key objectives:

• Provide easier, more intuitive navigation and user-friendly features and descriptions to clarify the SMS's role as FMCSA's prioritization tool for interventions.

• Consolidate FMCSA safety information so users do not have to go to multiple sites.

• Provide improved access to detailed information and new performance monitoring tools.

In the original Nov. 5 notice, the agency outlined the proposed enhancements:

• Displaying a summary BASIC status to better clarify if a motor carrier's performance in the individual BASICs causes it to be prioritized for an intervention. Detailed data such as the motor carrier's percentile ranking in each BASIC has been moved to the individual drill down pages for each BASIC.

• A new “Take a Tour” feature to highlight enhancements to the SMS display and show visitors how to locate and use the site.

• Allowing the website user to download the data for all of the carriers in the same safety event group used to rank a carrier's BASIC percentile. The SMS determines a BASIC percentile for each motor carrier within a BASIC based on how the individual carrier's BASIC measure ranks relative to other carriers with a similar number of safety events (i.e., inspections, violations or crashes).

 • Highlighting a motor carrier's individual performance measure in each BASIC to more clearly identify its performance trends over time. The measure is based on the results of the carrier's roadside inspections or crashes, and is not relative to other carriers in its safety event group.

• Reordering the display of the BASICs based on their association to crash rates, with the BASICs with the strongest associations at the left.

• Displaying any motor carrier safety rating from a compliance review issued in accordance with 49 CFR part 385. Previously, users had to go to FMCSA's Safety and Fitness Electronic Records System (SAFER) website.

• Displaying current insurance and authority status. Previously, users had to access FMCSA's Licensing and Insurance Online website.

• Providing a motor carrier's enforcement case history, including the date the case was closed, the applicable violations and the associated fines.

• Enhancing the display of safety performance over time through a variety of displays and graphs users can customize.

• Displaying the total number of inspections as well as a breakdown of the number of inspections with violations used in the SMS in each carrier's detail.

• Clarifying terminology in the SMS, such as the definitions  of the terms “0 percent” and “<3 inspections with violations,” in a new glossary called “SMS Display Key Terms.”

Persons may submit comments identified by Federal Docket Management System Number FMCSA-2013-0392 by any of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.

• Fax: 1-202-493-2251.

• Mail: Docket Management Facility, (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room 12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

• Hand Delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Eastern Time Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.

The FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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