In a recent Federal Register notice, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed to ultimately make permanent and expand the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program begun two years ago.

In 2015 the American Trucking Associations (ATA) petitioned FMCSA to study the feasibility of removing non-preventable crashes from a motor carrier’s safety assessment under the Crash Indicator BASIC (Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category), which is part of the agency’s Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program.

FMCSA began the study, and eight types of crashes were included in the demonstration program:

  • When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) was struck by a motorist driving under the influence (or related offense)
  • When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction
  • When the CMV was struck in the rear
  • When the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked, including when the vehicle is unattended
  • When the CMV struck an individual committing, or attempting to commit, suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV
  • When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the roadway
  • When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, or falling trees, rocks, or debris
  • When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle

The full results of the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program can be found on the FMCSA’s website. In summary, between August 1, 2017 and May 31, 2019, motor carriers submitted 12,249 crashes for review. Of those, 56%, or 5,619 crashes, fell within the eight categories above. Fully 5,247 of them (93%) were deemed non-preventable after FMCSA review. Motor carriers who submitted crashes could see how their Crash Indicator BASIC would be recalculated if these non-preventable crashes were removed.

Now FMCSA proposes clarifying changes to two of the original categories, reducing eight to seven. FMCSA also proposes to expand the crash categories eligible for review to 15, adding the following eight:

  • When the CMV is struck on the side in the rear
  • When the CMV is struck by a vehicle that did not stop or slow in traffic
  • When the CMV is struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at a traffic control device
  • When the CMV is struck by a vehicle making a U-turn or an illegal turn
  • When the CMV is struck by a driver experiencing a medical issue which causes the crash
  • When the CMV is struck by a driver who admits falling asleep or admits distracted driving
  • When the crash is caused by a driver under the influence, even though the CMV was impacted by a different vehicle
  • When the crash involved a wrong-way driver, even though the CMV was struck by a different vehicle

FMCSA proposes to accept submissions of crashes, those occurring on or after August 1 of this year, in all 15 categories, beginning around October 1, 2019. Submissions under the original categories would end September 30 for crashes that occurred up until July 31, 2019.

FMCSA has not set a target date for taking the final step and actually removing non-preventable crashes from a carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC. That will depend on public comments to this notice, analysis of submissions under the expanded 15 categories, and accommodating changes to agency information technology.

Public comments on the FMCSA’s plan are due by October 4, 2019. Click here to read the proposal and submit your comments.

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