The next update to the federal government’s public record of trucking company safety data will include the "absolute measures" under the BASICs—a critical metric in the recently proposed revision to the Safety Fitness Determination. But even before the scores hit the board, some in the industry argue that publishing them—indeed, their use in the SFD proposal itself—flouts the will Congress. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), however, insists the new numbers are fully in line with the data precautions mandated by the FAST Act.

With memos circulating among trucking groups, FMCSA spokesman Duane DeBruyne confirmed to American Trucker that the change is coming to the presentation of Safety Measurement System (SMS) data on the agency’s website, and cited the Fast Act provision that states "absolute measures shall remain available to the public"—meaning that these are, in fact, required.

Because Congress in the new highway bill required FMCSA to remove the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) carrier rankings from public view, the agency in December took down all information previously available on the website related to carrier compliance and safety performance. FMCSA ;has worked since to restore the data that is supposed to remain publicly available. The inspection and crash data came online last month, and publishing the absolute measures—or a trucking company’s score in each of the five publicly available safety categories (a calculation based on the severity weight and age of each violation under a BASIC)—is the next step in rebuilding the site's functionality.

However, the snapshot will still not include the percentile ranking derived from those carriers that have measurable (non-zero) data in the system. This is not to be confused with the blocked CSA peer-group percentiles.

Under the SFD proposal, “failure standards would be equivalent to the measures that would determine a motor carrier unfit” at the 96th percentile for the Unsafe Driving and HOS Compliance BASICs; that is, as explained in the proposed rule, “a person would know the carrier is in the worst 4 percent” of carriers with data. The SFD standards would determine that a motor carrier is unfit at the 99th percentile for the Driver Fitness, Vehicle Maintenance, and HM Compliance BASICs.

FMCSA has created an online SFD Calculator for carriers looking to see how they would be evaluated under the proposed system, as well as a user guide for the tool. The agency reports nearly 4,300 visits to the site in the last month.

The QCMobile app likewise is expected to be available again in March with the re-posting of the absolute measures.

The SMS is due to be refreshed with February’s data the week of March 7.

But the coming SMS display changes are already being criticized.