American Trucking Associations (ATA)
annual management conference and
exhibition in Orlando, Fla.
Actions that FMCSA stated it will
take in its 10-page corrective action
• Moving forward to develop and
test an IRT model. That model
will be used to inform the agency’s
work, with opportunities for public
input. As recommended by NAS,
if the new IRT model performs
well, it will replace the existing
SMS. FMCSA will not substantively
modify SMS while the IRT model
is being tested to ensure there is
“a stable comparison to evaluate
• Agreeing that more frequent
and more detailed Vehicle Miles
Traveled (VMT) data from motor
carriers would reduce the need for
FMCSA to use substitute values
and would improve the quality of
the data in SMS. FMCSA currently
only collects carrier VMT data
every two years. Access to this data
by state on a monthly basis is not
currently feasible, but the agency
will continue to identify possible
sources for this important data.
• Agreeing that additional
information about carrier
operations might improve the
agency’s analysis and identification
of non-compliant motor carriers.
However, the collection of this
data would come at a cost, and the
benefits are unknown.
• Agreeing that there could be
benefits from making motor
carrier data available to
researchers and carriers. As a
result, the agency’s first effort will
be to improve data availability.
FMCSA will develop a web page
where researchers, carriers,
safety consultants, and the public
can obtain simplified motor
carrier data snapshots.
• Gathering public input from motor
carriers, insurance companies and
shippers regarding the ways in which
the public uses SMS data. Using
the data collected in these public
listening sessions, FMCSA will scope
and complete a study specific to the
issue of percentile ranks and the
usability of public scores.
• Once IRT modeling is complete,
FMCSA will evaluate the use
of absolute measures for set
intervention thresholds. Absolute
measures and percentiles are
products of the SMS system.
At this time, it is not known how
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The Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Administration (FMCSA)
announced it has delivered a required
“Correlation Study Corrective Action
Plan” for its compliance, safety and
accountability program to Congress.
FMCSA’s new corrective action plan
outlines how the agency will address
recommendations made in the National
Academy of Sciences’ (NAS) “Improving
Motor Carrier Safety Measurement”
report, which examines the
effectiveness of the use of the percentile
ranks produced by the academy’s
Safety Measurement System (SMS) for
identifying high-risk carriers. And if not,
what alternatives might be preferred.
In addition, that report evaluates
the accuracy and sufficiency of the
data used by SMS to assess whether
other approaches to identifying
unsafe carriers would identify
high-risk carriers more effectively.
The report also seeks to address
how members of the public use the
SMS, and what effect making the
SMS information public has had on
FMCSA noted that it has pulled from
public view a preview website that
displayed changes that the agency had
proposed to its SMS. Those changes
had been “released prior to the NAS
report,” so they are now outmoded.
The NAS study and subsequent
report was commissioned by FMCSA
to comply with a provision of the FAST
Act highway bill of 2015 that mandated
a study be conducted of the agency’s
compliance, safety and accountability
program and its SMS component.
According to the agency, the report
to Congress presents FMCSA’s
corrective action plan for addressing
the six recommendations presented
in the NAS study.
A key element of the NAS report
is the recommendation that FMSCA
study a more scientific modeling
approach known as “item response
theory” (IRT) and then consider
implementing it to make the SMS
function more accurately.
The hope is that the IRT method
would help develop “an estimate of
the measure of safety culture” for
each carrier. That estimate could
be used to monitor and identify
carriers in need of intervention rather
than just zero in on violations, said
• Therefore, FMCSA defers action
on this recommendation until it is
confirmed this would be relevant.
As for its next steps, FMCSA said
it will work with the input of the NAS
Standing Committee to develop
and run a small scale IRT model by
September. After evaluating the results,
the agency will run a full-scale IRT
model by April of 2019. Additionally,
the agency said it will work with the
NAS Standing Committee on planning
and will also schedule public meetings
throughout IRT development to further
discuss the recommendations.
POC show set for September
An estimated 1,300 industry
leaders representing more than
150 businesses are expected to
gather in Los Angeles in September
for the annual week-long Pacific
Oil Conference (POC) trade show,
conference officials said.
The conference, running
Sept. 4 through Sept. 6, provides
opportunities for networking,
education and “exploration of the
latest advancements across the
industry,” POC said in a press release.
The show will give attendees
a chance to “learn from the most
provocative innovators and experts
in fields, ranging from marketing