SMS Includes Violations Based on New Cell Phone Regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has enhanced the Safety Measurement System (SMS) Methodology so that it includes violations based on new cell phone use regulations and provides more detailed breakouts of some existing brake, wheel, and coupling regulations. In February, when the January snapshot is released, motor carriers may notice the following two changes.

1. The addition of four texting and cell phone use violations in the Unsafe Driving Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) as outlined below. The violations reflect FMCSA’s decision on January 3, 2012 to ban commercial drivers from using mobile telephones while driving, which includes a ban on texting. Motor carriers should discuss the new violations with their drivers to ensure that they are aware of these requirements.

Added Carrier SMS Unsafe Driving BASIC Violations

Section

Violation Description Shown on Driver/Vehicle Examination Report Given to Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Driver after Roadside Inspection

Violation Group Description Violation Severity Weight
177.804(b) Failure to comply with 49 CFR 392.80 – Texting while Oper a CMV – Placardable HM Texting 10
177.804(b) Fail to comply with 392.82 – Using Mobile Phone while Oper a CMV – HM Phone Call 10
392.82(a)(1) Using a hand-held mobile telephone while operating a CMV Phone Call 10
392.82(a)(2) Allowing or requiring driver to use a hand-held mobile tel while operating a CMV Phone Call 10

2. The addition of 22 Vehicle Maintenance BASIC violations that provide further breakouts of existing brake, wheel, and coupling regulations. This improvement will help to clarify who the responsible party is for the violations, either the motor carrier or the Intermodal Equipment Provider.

FMCSA is revising Appendix A of the SMS Methodology document to take these changes into account. The agency will re-post the document to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Website at the same time the January SMS snapshot is released. Stay tuned by subscribing to the CSA Outreach Website at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/stay_connected.aspx.

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