The SMC is the tool behind the FMCSA’s investigative process. It was designed to help safety investigators and drivers improve safety by identifying and correcting safety performance and compliance issues.

The SMC provides safety investigators and drivers with a step-by-step process that goes beyond identifying what the violation is to get at why the safety performance issue is occurring. The tool has 6 Safety Management Processes (SMPs) which are presented in a particular order to represent the areas of a carrier company’s operations:


All 6 Processes listed above help to provide a framework for safety investigators and motor carriers to identify and correct breakdowns or safety compliance issues, before or after they have occurred. The framework can be applied to all of the 7 BASICs: Unsafe Driving, HOS Compliance, Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Hazardous Materials Compliance, and Crash Indicator.

Part of the framework includes the use of job aids to assist safety investigators and drivers in applying the SMC. One job aid is available for each of the BASICs, with the exception of Vehicle Maintenance, which has 2: Inspection Repair Maintenance and Cargo Related. All job aids provide recommended safety improvement practices, developed by the FMCSA with input from enforcement personnel and the motor carrier industry.

For more information on the Safety Management Cycle, visit the FMCSA’s CSA Website.

CSA’s Safety Management Cycle (SMC) was last modified: by