Motor carrier safety enforcement (PRISM)

PRISM is a federal and state partnership developed to reduce commercial motor vehicle accidents. PRISM identifies motor carriers with poor safety records and holds the carriers responsible for the safety of their operations.

PRISM links the motor carrier safety information of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with state motor vehicle registration processes to determine the safety and fitness of motor carriers.

PRISM Enforcement

The PRISM enforcement program is designed to improve the safety performance of unfit carriers. PRISM ensures accurate carrier identification, monitors carrier performance and motivates safety fitness. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Process (MCSIP) assesses and monitors carrier safety performance. Assessment is based on current safety event information that includes accidents, inspections, driver violations and compliance review data. Safety events are assigned to the motor carrier responsible for the safety of the vehicle. The safety events are weighted according to severity, frequency, and time since the occurrence.

A motor carrier enters the MCSIP if the carrier exceeds an established safety event threshold. The MCSIP provides opportunities for carriers to improve operations and return to a safe condition. Carriers with possible safety problems are identified and prioritized for an on-site review using the Motor Carrier Safety Status (SafeStat) system. Motor carriers must improve their safety problems or face more serious penalties.

If the safety fitness record of the carrier does not improve, the most serious penalties the carrier faces are

  • a Federal out-of-service order
  • a State vehicle registration suspension and/or revocation


A carrier can be released from the MCSIP based on a demonstrated improvement in safety performance.

Visit the Web site of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for more information about PRISM and to apply for a USDOT number 1