Should motor carriers be penalized for a crash if their driver is truly not at-fault or if the crash could not be prevented? Many industry safety experts have called for a change to the rules so non-preventable crashes do not show up on a carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC that heavily influences the carrier’s CSA score.
Now there’s a chance relief is on the horizon, and you can be a part of it: Carriers can participate in a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) pilot project to see how removing non-preventable crashes could affect safety scores. Thanks to this project, the industry could be making progress toward a system that recognizes that all truck accidents are not the fault of the motor carrier.
On August 1, 2017, FMCSA began accepting Requests for Data Review (RDRs) into its Crash Preventability Demonstration Program through DataQs. Crashes eligible for the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program must have occurred on or after June 1, 2017. The Crash Preventability Demonstration Program is expected to last a minimum of 24 months.
Carriers who have had crashes on or after June 1, 2017 can submit a Request for Data Review (RDR) through the Data Q process. If the crash is found by FMCSA to be non-preventable, a side-by-side score will appear on the carrier’s BASIC: one score that includes the crash regardless of fault, and the other depicting the score minus the non-preventable crash. Carriers will be able to review their own scores and law enforcement will be able to view all carrier scores for a comparison.
Unfortunately, all crashes are not eligible for submission. The FMCSA’s list of obviously non-preventable crashes includes:
- When the CMV is struck by a motorist driving under the influence;
- When the CMV is struck by a motorist driving the wrong way;
- When the CMV is struck from behind while it is in operation;
- When the CMV is struck while it is legally stopped;
- When the CMV strikes an individual committing or attempting to commit suicide by stepping in front of or driving into a CMV while it is in operation;
- When the CMV sustains disabling damage from an animal strike;
- When the crash is the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees, rocks, or other debris; or
- When the CMV is struck by cargo or equipment falling from another vehicle.
As with any RDR submission to Data Qs, carriers must have good documentation to refute the report – the more documentation the better. Typical documentation includes crash reports; police accident reports; insurance documents; pictures; videos; media reports; affidavits; or transcripts, as well as any other data or documents that help prove the carrier’s request for relief..
FMCSA has hired an outside contractor to review the information and make a preventability recommendation to the agency. If the reviewer finds the crash to be non-preventable, and FMCSA concurs, the crash will be reflected in a side-by-side comparison score alongside the Crash Basic original score.
If the motor carrier disagrees with the reviewer’s determination, there’s an option to appeal and have the RDR re-opened if additional evidence is supplied.
While it’s not yet clear how the FMCSA will select carriers for the pilot, this information should be available following a FMCSA public meeting to be held in September (date TBD). We will keep you updated.