FMCSA improves SMS with ASPEN enhancements

US Dept of Transportation FMCSA announces improvements to ASPEN to more efficiently improve highway safety.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in conjunction with its State partners and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, has just refined the roadside inspection system, ASPEN, to improve the Safety Measurement System (SMS). SMS uses roadside inspections, reported through ASPEN, and crash data to prioritize motor carriers for interventions.

This action is in response to stakeholder feedback that indicated that some commercial driver violations in SMS are a result of license suspensions for non-safety related reasons, such as failing to pay a parking ticket. Motor carriers often cannot detect these suspensions when doing required background or annual checks of a driver’s driving record.

The refinement to ASPEN will collect more precise data about drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV) while disqualified to improve the Agency’s ability to identify non-compliant and unsafe motor carriers. Specifically, the enhancement will allow roadside inspectors to classify disqualified driver violations into different categories depending on whether the driver’s license is:

  1. Suspended by the driver’s license-issuing State or another State; and
  2. Suspended for a safety-related (e.g. speeding or false logs violations) or non-safety related (e.g. failure to pay parking tickets) reason.

This additional data will strengthen the effectiveness and accuracy of the Driver Fitness Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) of the SMS. More importantly, it will hold motor carriers accountable for using a driver with a license that has been suspended for safety-related reasons by the driver’s license-issuing State.

The table below shows the definitions and severity weights assigned to the updated violations in ASPEN effective July 20, 2012. In order to ensure uniform implementation, these changes are not applied retroactively.

Violation Before ASPEN Enhancement (Severity Weight)

Violations After ASPEN Enhancement (Severity Weight)

383.51(a) Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (8)

Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (Safety/State of Record) (8)

Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (Safety/Not State of Record) (5)

Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (Non-Safety/State of Record) (5)

Driving a CMV (CDL) while disqualified (Non-Safety/Not State of Record) (1)

391.15(a) Driving a CMV while disqualified (8)

Driving a CMV while disqualified (Safety/State of Record) (8)

Driving a CMV while disqualified (Safety/Not State of Record) (5)

Driving a CMV while disqualified (Non-Safety/State of Record) (5)

Driving a CMV while disqualified (Non-Safety/Not State of Record) (1)

 

We Recommend