FMCSA Data to Consider Adjudicated Citations

FMCSA data, including a carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) percentile rankings and a driver’s Pre-Employment Screening data (PSP), will potentially be impacted by recent changes to the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). Beginning August 23, 2014, the MCMIS will reflect the results of citations related to roadside inspection violations which are adjudicated in the court system. The adjudicated results of a citation; be it a dismissal of the citation, a plea to a lesser charge or conviction will soon be recorded in MCMIS which will potentially impact other FMCSA data systems, such as SMS and PSP.

Presently, MCMIS records do not reflect convictions, acquittals or other subsequent adjudications or adjustments of violations that occur when a carrier or driver choose to challenge a citation in the court system. A driver or carrier have always been able to challenge the “violation” issued in a roadside inspection report using the DataQs system, regardless of whether an actual ticket was issued for that violation or not. However, under this new change, carriers and drivers can file a Request for Data Review (RDR) in the FMCSA’s DataQ system after challenging a citation in the state or local court system, and seek an acknowledgement of the adjudication in the inspection record. Put simply, carriers and drivers will now have successful court challenges reflected in their FMCSA data.

This change affords carriers and drivers right to challenge unfounded traffic citations and set the record straight. While the opportunity to challenge citations has always existed, it was generally considered a waste of time because FMCSA did not take a court’s dismissal of a citation or a finding of not guilty into consideration. Moreover, 49 CFR 384.226 has, and continues to prohibit states from “masking” convictions or taking any action that would prevent a CDL holder’s conviction from appearing on the driver’s CDLIS driving record.

It should be pointed out that change is not retroactive, meaning that it is only applicable to citations issued on or after August 23, 2014. It should also be noted that this change is only relevant when a citation is issued for one or more violations recorded during a roadside inspection. If only a violation is recorded, and no citation is issued, drivers and carriers are instructed to use the DataQs system, just as before, to contest the validity of the violation.

When a citation is issued in conjunction with a violation, motor carriers and drivers would be well advised to retain counsel and contest the citation in the court system, as this could potentially result in a favorable impact on FMCSA data for both the motor carrier and driver alike.


Jason Guerra practices Trucking Litigation, Insurance Defense & Coverage at Roberts Perryman

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