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  • Writer's pictureFront Range Compliance

FMCSA to Improve Intervention Thresholds

Motor carriers may be prioritized for interventions if their percentiles are at or above certain thresholds called Intervention Thresholds. Industry stakeholders noted that certain safety categories are not as well correlated with crash risk as others (specifically the Driver Fitness and HM Compliance safety categories). As a result, the current Intervention Thresholds for those safety categories reduces the ability of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Safety Measurement System (SMS) to effectively identify carriers with high crash rates.


The proposed methodology would adjust the Intervention Thresholds to de-emphasize the

Driver Fitness and Hazardous Materials (HM) Compliance safety categories given their lower correlations to crash risk, while maintaining the current thresholds for other higher crash risk safety categories. The Intervention Thresholds in Driver Fitness and HM Compliance would go up by 10 percentiles (the higher the percentile Intervention Threshold, the fewer carriers prioritized). This would allow FMCSA enforcement resources to better focus on carriers with compliance issues that correspond to crash risk.

The Driver Fitness thresholds would move from:

  • 80% to 90% for general carriers

  • 65% to 75% for passenger carriers

  • 75% to 85% for HM carriers

The HM Compliance thresholds would increase from 80% to 90% for all carrier types.

For the criteria for the general carrier, passenger carrier, and HM carrier thresholds, download the SMS Methodology.

Analysis Method

The FMCSA used the Effectiveness Test (ET) to determine the most effective way to adjust the Intervention Thresholds for the safety categories that have lower correlations to crash rate. Consideration was given to maintaining a similar number of carriers prioritized under the current SMS methodology and Intervention Thresholds. Because the other changes in the higher crash-correlated safety categories increased the number of carriers prioritized using the current Intervention Thresholds, the Agency explored adjusting the Interventions Thresholds in the Driver Fitness and HM Compliance safety categories to complement this increase and better identify carriers with higher crash rates.

Evaluation Results

Adjusting Intervention Thresholds in the Driver Fitness and HM Compliance BASICs would

reduce the number of prioritized carriers by 463. Based on the ET results, the carriers removed from prioritization have a crash rate of 4.15, which is lower than the national average of 5.00 crashes per 100 PUs. Overall, under this proposed change, the crash rate of the remaining prioritized carriers would increase from 7.19 to 7.77 crashes per 100 PUs.

All information in this post was retrieved from the FMCSA New Prioritization Methodology: Foundational Document, Version 1.5, March 2022.

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