Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

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Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Agency overview
Formed February 1, 2000 (2000-02-01)
Jurisdiction United States Government
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Employees 1,000
Annual budget $668.523 million (FY15), requested[1]
Agency executive T.F. Scott Darling III, Chief Counsel[2]
Parent agency US Department of Transportation
Website Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), established January 1, 2000, regulates the trucking industry in the United States. FMCSA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and employs more than 1,000 people. The primary mission of the FMCSA is improving the safety of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) and truck drivers through enactment and enforcement of safety regulations. The Offices of Analysis, Research and Technology are three separate divisions collectively referred to as ART.


The FMCSA began as a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000, pursuant to the "Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999",[3] and was previously under the Federal Highway Administration.

Related legislation[edit]

Office of Analysis, Research and Technology[edit]

The mission of the Office of Analysis, Research and Technology is conducting studies, adopting, testing, and deploying roadside practices and technology. Also analyzing trends, costs, injuries, and fatalities in commercial truck and bus crashes, monitoring data quality, and preparing economic and environmental analysis for rule making.[14]

Analysis division[edit]

The division monitors data quality to ensure an accurate measurement of safety performance, to provide effective countermeasures that can be developed to reduce the occurrence and severity of commercial motor vehicle crashes.[15]


On March 1, 2004, published its final Order on Agency procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), also developing FMCSA procedures that incorporates environmental considerations into informed decision making while assuring compliance with NEPA.[16]

Research division[edit]

The research division's mission is to reduce the number and severity of commercial motor vehicles involved in crashes and enhance the safety and efficiency of CMV operations.[17]

Technology division[edit]

Technology division's mission is to improve safety and security, save lives, and prevent serious injury by reducing the number and severity of commercial motor vehicle crashes. This is accomplished by adopting, developing, testing, and deploying advanced information technology solutions.[18]



Compliance Safety Accountability,(CSA) is a comprehensive program, administered by the FMCSA, under authority of the U.S. Department of Transportation, to improve commercial truck and bus safety by reducing crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to commercial motor vehicles. CSA 2010 began in February 2008 with field tests in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri and New Jersey. In 2009 FMCSA added Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota and Montana to the tests.

CSA replaced the old "SafeStat" model that measured safety performance with the "Safety Measurement System" (SMS). During the summer of 2010 carriers and drivers could review the records of the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), the data base that stores safety information, and could contest such records.[19]

CSA was implemented over the weekend of December 11, 2010, even though there is a pending lawsuit to stop the program. A stop order (temporary stay) was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[20] Ken Siegel represents the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, the Expedite Alliance of North America, and the Air & Expedited Motor Carriers Association, which claim to represent about 2,750 small carriers, and contends that FMCSA has not followed proper procedures before publishing the data.

There are three major components:[21]


CSA uses new criteria and new Safety Fitness Determination methodology to compare safety records of carriers and drivers known as "Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories" or BASICS.


Evaluate safety performance of carriers and drivers and identify behavior patterns that may result in unsafe operations.


Take necessary tailored steps to correct safety violations and procedures necessary to ensure future compliance.

The program incorporates five attributes;

  • FLEXIBILITY: Adapt to a Changing Environment; Allows for changes in the transportation environment and evolutions in technology.
  • EFFICIENCY: Maximize Use of Resources; Improves staff productivity at the state and federal level and the safety performance of the motor carrier community.
  • EFFECTIVENESS: Improve Safety Performance; Identifies behaviors associated with safety risks and focuses compliance, enforcement, and remediation efforts on any unsafe behaviors.
  • INNOVATION: Leverage Data and Technology; Use new technology to track and update safety performance data to improve safety.
  • EQUITABILITY: Be Fair and Unbiased; Assesses and evaluates motor carrier safety procedures and rules, enforces Federal laws and safety regulations, all designed to assure consistent application of enforcement between similarly situated members of the motor carrier community.[22]


Documented infractions and safety information such as crash statistics will be assigned a number. Safety scoring will be on a scale of zero to one hundred with 100 being the worst.

Complaints and concerns[edit]

Data contained in CSA will affect drivers and carriers by assigning high scores for such things as accidents that might have been unavoidable and no fault of a driver. Steve Niswander, Vice President of safety for Groendyke Transport, stated in an interview with Big Truck TV such concerns.[23]

A driver can have a bad score, yet be a great driver. If, for example, a car driven by a drunk driver crosses the median and hits the truck head-on, causing the death of both the driver and their passenger, you have an alcohol-involved accident with two fatalities. That will go on the driver’s CSA 2010 record and it will blow their score clean out of the water through no fault of their own. That won’t be corrected until the driver or carrier challenges the score with the FMCSA. But if you don’t know that and you’re just looking at raw numbers, you can really make some bad assumptions.


Information is gathered from law enforcement and the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) has concerns about the accuracy of the information supplied to CSA. The data will include "all" information on inspection and crash reports, not just convictions, and warning tickets are also included. Tickets that are not included on an inspection report will not be entered into the CSA database. This sets the stage for erroneous information from the beginning. Carriers and drivers are treated differently in the regulations in that a driver report is gathered for the previous three years whereas a carrier is limited to the previous two years. Carriers can challenge information contained in their safety profiles through a system called "Data Qs", but it is not clear how a driver can contest data.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/budget/fiscal-year-2015-budget-estimates
  2. ^ http://ttnews.com/articles/basetemplate.aspx?storyid=37732
  3. ^ Public law -106-159; Accessed 2010-12-16
  4. ^ a b Kasperowicz, Pete (23 September 2013). "House to slow federal rules requiring sleep testing for truck drivers". The Hill. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "H.R. 3095 - Text". United States Congress. Retrieved 23 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "H.R. 3095 - All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Jaillet, James (7 October 2013). "Senate passes sleep apnea bill, president's signature would make it law". Overdrive Online. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "H.R. 4076 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (28 February 2014). "Cold snap prompts wave of energy bills". The Hill. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Kasperowicz, Pete (4 March 2014). "House votes to ease access to home heating oil". The Hill. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Mauriello, Tracie (4 March 2014). "Fuel-trucker bill advances". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Cox, Ramsey (21 May 2014). "Senate passes aiding transport of home heating fuels". The Hill. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "S. 2086 - CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  14. ^ ART -Accessed 2010-12-18
  15. ^ Analysis division -Accessed 2010-12-18
  16. ^ NEPA compliance -Accessed 2010-12-18
  17. ^ Research division- Accessed 2010-12-18
  18. ^ Technology division -Accessed 2010-12-18
  19. ^ CSA 2010 launch -Accessed 2010-12-19
  20. ^ CSA 2010 lawsuit
  21. ^ CSA components -Accessed 2010-12-18
  22. ^ What is CSA? -Accessed 2010-12-18
  23. ^ Downside to SCA 2010
  24. ^ OOIDA concerns -Accessed 2010-12-19


1. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - About Us

2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration - Key Programs

3. Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010

External links[edit]