Research Project

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Truck and Bus Maintenance Requirements and Their Impact on Safety


The goals of this study are to: (1) understand the impact of maintenance on safety-based crashes; (2) determine the maintenance standards of best performers; and (3) determine the range and role of annual State inspection programs.


Vehicle maintenance (e.g., brakes, lights, other mechanical defects, and load securement) is one of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) for motor carrier safety measurement. In January 2014, FMCSA published the Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS) Effectiveness Test by BASICs Study. This published study showed that motor carriers targeted for interventions due to vehicle maintenance have a 65 percent greater future crash rate than the national average.


The current study is analyzing the impact of preventative vehicle maintenance of large trucks and buses on safety, to include not only violations that are serious enough to be listed as out-of-service (OOS) criteria, but also other vehicle maintenance issues which have been found to cause or contribute to crashes.


A report that analyzes the impact of vehicle maintenance on safety and recommends whether new or revised OOS criteria are needed. Additionally, a review of inspection and maintenance practices of States and safe carriers, respectively.



October 2016: Kick-off meeting
November 2016: Draft work plan to be peer-reviewed
February 2017: Final work plan (peer-reviewed)
April 2017: Literature review completed
September 2017: Preliminary analysis of data from CSMS & Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) data
May 2018: Submit Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
December 2018: Close 30-day Federal Register Notice
November 2019: Development of public-use data set
March 2020: Final report and final briefing due


FY16 Funding: $335,627

Current Status:

This project has fallen behind schedule due to delays in the ICR review process.

Project Manager:

For more information, contact Quon Kwan of the Technology Division at (202) 385-2389 or


Virginia Tech Transportation Institute  
Updated: Monday, March 4, 2019
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