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Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM)

Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM) is a cooperative federal-state safety program developed to reduce commercial vehicle crashes. PRISM utilizes a state's commercial vehicle registration process to improve motor carrier safety in two ways:

  1. By determining the safety fitness of the motor carrier prior to registering a vehicle; and
  2. By motivating the carrier to improve its safety performance either through an improvement process or the application of registration sanctions.

The PRISM program encompasses two major processes, registration and enforcement, which are integrated to identify motor carriers and hold them responsible for the safety of their operations. The performance of unsafe carriers is improved through a comprehensive system of identification, education, data gathering, safety monitoring and treatment.

Registration

Within the state commercial vehicle registration process, the International Registration Plan (IRP) provides the framework for the PRISM program by facilitating two vital functions. First, it establishes a system of accountability by ensuring that no vehicle is registered without identifying the responsible carrier for vehicle safety during the registration year. Second, the use of registration sanctions provides a powerful incentive for unsafe carriers to improve their safety performance. The vehicle registration process ensures that all carriers engaged in interstate commerce are identified through a unique USDOT number during vehicle registration. The safety fitness of each carrier can then be audited prior to issuing registration credentials. Those motor carriers that have been prohibited from operating in interstate commerce by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may be denied registration by the state.

Enforcement

The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Process (MCSIP) is a data-driven process that systematically uses current safety event information such as crashes, inspections, driver violations, compliance review records and other information to assess and monitor motor carrier safety performance. Safety events are assigned to the motor carrier responsible for the safety of the vehicle and are weighted according to severity, frequency and time since the occurrence.

MCSIP is designed to improve the safety performance of motor carriers through accurate identification, performance monitoring and treatment. Once the carrier exceeds the bounds of the established safety threshold, the motor carrier enters MCSIP. MCSIP provides opportunities for carriers to improve operations and return to a safe condition. Within MCSIP, carriers with potential safety problems are identified and prioritized for an on-site review using the Motor Carrier Safety Status (SafeStat) system developed for the PRISM program. If there is no improvement in the carrier’s safety fitness record, a Federal Operations out-of-service order and concurrent state registration suspension and/or revocation is the ultimate penalty.

How does PRISM affect roadside inspections?

Motor carriers in the PRISM MCSIP process are recommended for roadside inspection. Once a motor carrier sufficiently improves its safety status to exit the MCSIP, they will no longer be recommended for inspection.

How does PRISM affect IRP registration?

The International Registration Plan (IRP) serves as the framework for the PRISM program and is affected through USDOT registration and MCS-150 updates.

The motor carrier responsible for the safety of every vehicle and the IRP account registrant must identify their USDOT number during the registration process.

An updated MCS-150 form must be submitted for each registrant and carrier responsible for safety unless the carrier and the registrant have each submitted a form within 12 months prior to the first day of the renewal period, or the motor carrier and the registrant have updated the information directly on the FMCSA web page.

For many IRP accounts, the registrant that maintains the IRP account and the carrier responsible for the safety of individual vehicles on the account are the same entity. Table A outlines USDOT number and MCS-150 requirements associated with PRISM and IRP registration in this instance.

TABLE A
IRP account registrant = responsible motor carrier
  Registrant Level Individual Vehicle Level
USDOT# Requirement Registrant's USDOT number Same
MCS-150 Requirement Updated MCS-150 for the IRP Registrant required unless one has been submitted within 12 months prior to the first day of the renewal period. No additional requirement
Action Record the USDOT number in Section C of the IRP Schedule A and write "same" in the appropriate column of the individual vehicle section of Schedule A.

In other cases, the IRP account registrant and the carrier responsible for the safety of individual vehicles on the account are different. For example:

Rental/leasing companies registering in their own name

Rental/leasing companies that register in their own name must provide the USDOT numbers and copies of updated MCS-150 forms to the registration office for their company and for all lessees that are responsible for vehicle safety. The USDOT number for the rental/leasing company should be recorded in the registrant section of the IRP Schedule A and the USDOT number of the motor carrier responsible for safety should be recorded in the appropriate column of the individual vehicle section.

Owner/operators registering in their own name, but leasing to motor carriers

Owner/operators who register in their own names must obtain a USDOT number for themselves. This number is for registration purposes only and does not provide the owner/operator with his/her own operating authority. In addition, the owner/operator must provide the USDOT number for the company to whom he/she leases. Updated copies of the MCS-150 must be submitted for the owner/operator and all companies responsible for safety (the lessees). The companies must complete the MCS-150 forms. The owner/operator must record his/her USDOT number in the registrant section of the IRP Schedule A. The USDOT number of the motor carrier responsible for safety should be entered in the appropriate column at the individual vehicle level of the Schedule A.

Companies using only leased vehicles registered in the name of the lessors

Companies who use all leased vehicles registered in the name of the lessors (rental/leasing or owner/operator) must provide the lessor with an updated copy of the MCS-150. The lessor will submit the MCS-150 to the state registration office in order to have the vehicle’s registration renewed.

Table B outlines USDOT number and the MCS-150 update requirements when the IRP account registrant and responsible motor carrier are different.

TABLE B
IRP account registrant ≠ responsible motor carrier
  Registrant Level Individual Vehicle Level
USDOT# Requirement Registrant's USDOT number Two general situations apply:

1. USDOT number of the motor carrier responsible for safety if known and expected to stay the same for at least 30 days from the renewal.

2. USDOT number of the Registrant as a default if the motor carrier responsible for safety is unknown, or expected to change within 30 days of renewal.
MCS-150 Requirement Updated MCS-150 for the IRP Registrant required unless one has been submitted within 12 months prior to the first day of the renewal period. An updated MCS-150 associated with each USDOT number of the IRP account is required unless one has been submitted within 12 months prior to the first day of the renewal period.
Action Record the USDOT number in Section C of the IRP Schedule A and the USDOT number of the motor carrier responsible for safety in the appropriate column of the individual vehicle section. Indicate if the lease is for the full registration year in the appropriate column.

PRISM Benefits

PRISM demonstrates the following safety, economic and productivity benefits:

Accountability
Accountability is achieved by accurately linking safety events (e.g. inspection, crashes, driver moving violations) affecting a PRISM registered vehicle to the responsible carrier.
Performance-based Approach to Safety Management
Carriers are identified, treated and released from the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Process based upon a demonstrated improvement in highway performance after safety treatments have been completed.
Safety Measurement System
The Safety Measurement System (SMS) quantifies the on-road safety performance of individual motor carriers every month to identify motor carriers in need of intervention. Determine the specific safety problems exhibited. SMS monitors whether a motor carrier’s safety status improves or worsens. SMS uses a motor carrier’s data from roadside inspections, state reported crashes, and motor carrier census information to quantify performance.
Improved Motor Carrier Safety
The PRISM program has proven to be an effective means of getting motor carriers to improve their compliance and performance deficiencies. Motor carriers must improve their safety deficiencies or face progressively more stringent penalties up to a Federal out-of-service order and concurrent state registration sanctions.
Improved Productivity
PRISM has increased the efficiency and effectiveness of Federal and state safety efforts through a more accurate process for targeting the highest risk carriers, which allows for a more efficient allocation of scarce resources for compliance reviews and roadside inspections.
Improved Data Quality
The PRISM Program has shown that an improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of data will result in better resource allocation and heightened efficiencies in the administration of major Federal and state safety data improvement initiatives as listed below:
  • A procedure for obtaining current census and operational data on interstate motor carriers as part of the state’s annual registration renewal process.
  • A procedure for using plate numbers as a means to more effectively assign inspection and crash data to the responsible motor carrier.
  • The use of automated procedures such as bar coding, to automatically populate critical roadside inspection fields like USDOT number and plate number.

Customer Service

PRISM provides a "one-stop shopping" opportunity for the carriers to simultaneously obtain a USDOT number, meet updating requirements, and obtain IRP license plates. Through the PRISM Program, the state registration offices issue USDOT numbers on behalf of the federal government.

State Seal of Montana Montana Department of Transportation
Motor Carrier Services Division
2550 Prospect Ave
PO Box 4639
Helena, MT 59601
406-444-6130