FMCSA Redefining “High Risk” Motor Carrier

March 7, 2016

By David Cullen

HDT Magazine

Photo: FMCSA
Photo: FMCSA

FMCSA redefining High Risk Carriers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is adopting a new “High Risk” motor carrier definition along with investigative procedural changes aimed at enabling investigators “to take more immediate action against carriers with the highest crash risk.”

In its notification, published in the Federal Register for March 7, the agency said the changes are in line with its “continuing efforts to improve CSA” and are in line with recommendations made in the “Blueprint for Safety Leadership: Aligning Enforcement and Risk” report.

That report was issued by a Federal Aviation Administration Independent Review Team (IRT) in back in July 2014.

“The IRT recommended that FMCSA sharpen its priority-setting focus and improve the timeliness of investigator actions on those motor carriers representing the highest risk,” said FMCSA in its notice of the changes.

The agency also said that the IRT report noted that the current “High Risk” definition “does not specify which carriers require the most urgent attention or allow for dynamic risk management.”

FMCSA said that under the new definition, non-passenger (that is, property-carrying) motor carriers are considered “High Risk” if they have two or more of these Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) at or above the 90th percentile for two consecutive months and they have not received an onsite investigation in the previous 18 months: Unsafe Driving, Crash Indicator; HOS Compliance, and Vehicle Maintenance.

As for passenger carriers, they are now deemed “High Risk” if they have two or more of those BASICs at or above the 90th percentile for one month and they have not received an onsite investigation in the past 12 months.

FMCSA contends the new definition will identify fewer at-risk carriers, but “this group of carriers will have a higher crash risk than the group of carriers identified under the current ‘High Risk’ definition.”

The agency stated that the “newly defined ‘High Risk’ list will be the agency’s investigative priority,” allowing it “to more promptly conduct investigations of carriers that pose the greatest risk to public safety, rather than placing carriers at high crash risk in a longer queue ofInvestigations.”

FMCSA added that to address those carriers with poor safety performance that will no longer fall under the “High Risk” definition, it will “identify and monitor additional carriers with significant crash risk using dynamic risk management tools recommended by the IRT.”

Comments on the notice must be received on or before May 6,2016 and may be submitted bearing the Docket ID FMCSA-2015-0439 using any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal by going to and following the online instructions for submitting comments

Fax to 1-202-493-2251

Mail to Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department ofTransportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor,Room W12-140, Washington, DC 0590-0001

Hand-deliver or courier to: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140,1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays

DOT noted that it posts all comments received without change to, including any personal information included in a comment.