Summary of Activities and Safety Measurement System – what you need to know

Dec 29, 2019 in Regulations and road rules, Trucking Industry

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a lot of tools in order to ensure safe driving behavior behind the wheel of a commercial truck. One of those tools is the Safety Measurement System (SMS). The SMS is part of the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. The ultimate purpose of this system is, of course, to make the roads safer.

The Safety Measurement System affects all motor carriers that drive interstate, haul hazardous materials and/or haul loads over 10,000 pounds.


What kind of information does the Safety Measurement System track?

The SMS program reviews all data from roadside inspections conducted for safety purposes. It also takes into consideration crashes reported at the state level as far as 24 months in the past. The SMS evaluators rate drivers. The rating is based on inspection results and crashes. The crashes are based on the unique number assigned to the driver from the US Department of Transportation (DOT). This means that only the violations received while working for a motor carrier will be included in your SMS. So, if you have any violations while operating your personal vehicle or after terminating employment with a motor carrier – these won’t be part of the Safety Measurement System. When evaluating the safety of individual motor carriers, the SMS takes into consideration:

  • Out-of-service violations;
  • State-reported crashes;
  • All safety-based roadside inspections;

What is Summary of Activities?

The Summary of Activities is part of the Safety Measurement System. It includes all the data that is used to calculate the motor carrier results. Data like roadside assistance, crash reports etc.

In the Summary of Activities, you will notice two sections called Total Inspections and Total Crashes. The first refers to all inspections conducted for the driver at level I to VI. Breaking down this information into “received violation” and “did not receive violation” is a part of the SMS calculation and evaluation process. The second column (Total crashes) refers to all the reportable crashes in which the driver took part. A reportable crash is a crash that has been reported to the FMCSA and included an injury or more serious outcomes to one or more persons involved in the crash. However, the SMS also considers a reportable crash a crash where one or more of the involved vehicles required towing.

What affects the SMS results?

The Safety Measurement System evaluates drivers based on seven categories, called the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories or BASICs. As we’ve mentioned, they look into the driver’s data 24 months in the past and take into consideration violations and crashes. Each violation or crash is assigned a weight. Violations and crashes as recent as six months get greater weight, while events occurred more than twelve months ago get the least weight.

If you want to maintain a good SMS ranking, you should avoid violations during several consecutive roadside inspections. If you, however, receive a violation – make sure you don’t receive another one in the near future. If you don’t your record will eventually be pristine, as violations fall off completely in 24 months.

Do you make enough to ensure your and your truck’s safety?

While 90% of the safe driving is a driver driving safe (try to say it three times fast), there are 10% which are the other drivers on the road. And since safety doesn’t depend 100% on you, you should at least be prepared in case you get into an accident. You can do that with the proper commercial truck insurance. Start by getting our free quote or getting in touch with our agents, which will give you the information you need for the coverage you need. Drive safe with Bobtail.Insure.