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FAST Act: Compliance, Safety, Accountability

The FAST Act requires the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science (NAS) to conduct a thorough study of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, specifically the Safety Measurement System (SMS). 

Study Requirements

NAS will conduct an independent correlation study of SMS.  The FAST Act has outlined several elements that NAS must analyze and/or consider, including:

  • The accuracy with which the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASIC) identify high risk carriers; and predict or are correlated with future crash risk, crash severity, or other safety indicators for motor carriers, including the high risk carriers;
  • The methodology used to calculate BASIC percentiles and identify carriers for enforcement, including the weights assigned to particular violations and the tie between crash risk and specific regulatory violations, with respect to accurately identifying and predicting future crash risk for motor carriers;
  • The relative value of inspection information and roadside enforcement data;
  • Any data collection gaps or data sufficiency problems that may exist and the impact of those gaps and problems on the efficacy of the CSA program;
  • The accuracy of safety data, including the use of crash data from crashes in which a motor carrier was free from fault;
  • Whether BASIC percentiles for motor carriers of passengers should be calculated separately from motor carriers of freight;
  • The difference in the rates at which safety violations are reported to FMCSA for inclusion in the SMS by various enforcement authorities, including States, territories, and Federal inspectors;
  • How members of the public use the SMS and what effect making the SMS information public has had on reducing crashes and eliminating unsafe motor carriers from the industry;
  • Whether the SMS provides comparable precision and confidence, through SMS alerts and percentiles, for the relative crash risk of individual large and small motor carriers;
  • Whether alternatives to the SMS would identify high risk carriers more accurately; and
  • The recommendations and findings of the Comptroller General of the United States and the Inspector General of the Department and independent review team reports, issued before the date of enactment of the FAST Act.

For further information about the SMS Correlation Study, see the National Academies of Sciences webpage: .

Within 18 months of the enactment of the FAST Act, FMCSA will submit the results of this study to both Congress and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Inspector General.  The results will also be published on a publicly-accessible Department of Transportation website.

Post-Study Requirements

If the study report identifies a deficiency or opportunity for improvement, FMCSA will submit a corrective action plan to Congress that will be reviewed by the Inspector General of the Department.

Public Availability of SMS Alerts and Percentiles

As required by Section 5223 of the FAST Act, FMCSA has removed alerts and relative percentiles for property carriers from the public display of the SMS. FMCSA is prohibited from publishing this information until the SMS Correlation Study is complete, and all reporting requirements and certification requirements under the FAST Act are satisfied. 


A report to Congress containing study findings; study findings should also be published on a publicly accessible Web site.


February 2016: Contract awarded

June 2017: Report to Congress; report published on publicly accessible Web site


FY 2016: $971,519

Current Status

Project is on schedule. For more details, visit:

Project Manager

For more information, contact Albert Alvarez of the FMCSA Research Division at (202) 385-2387 or


National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences 

Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2016
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