In an effort to right the ship in regards to its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, the FMCSA has launched a new pilot program that allows a review of crashes for potential removal from CSA records.
The Agency has stated that its “Stakeholders”, referring to those that commented during a 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking, have expressed concern that their Safety Measurement System (SMS) may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers and that the listing of crashes on its public website without an indication of preventability can give a misleading impression of a company’s safety.
As of August 1, Requests for Data Review (RDRs) are being accepted into the FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Demonstration Program for crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017. Motor carriers and drivers can submit RDRs through the Agency’s website at: dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov.
It’s important to note that not all types of crashes are reviewable. Following are the eight crash types that qualify for a review:
• 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 was 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;
• When the crash was the result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees,
rocks, or other debris; or
• When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.
The Agency says that carriers/drivers must submit compelling information and documentation to show that the crash was Not Preventable. Suggested documentation/evidence includes, but is not limited to: Crash reports; Police Accident Reports; Insurance documents; Videos; Media reports; Affidavits; or Transcripts.
Once FMCSA completes its review of the crash, the Agency will post results to SMS within 60 days. FMCSA says it will continue to list Not Preventable crashes on the SMS website, but that the crash will appear with a notation that reads, “FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that it was not preventable.”
Editorial — The FMCSA tells us that their studies show crash involvement is a strong indicator of future crash risk. Common sense tells us that a crash that was NOT preventable (e.g., when the CMV was struck while it was legally stopped or parked) would NOT aide in determining a carrier’s crash risk. Yet, here we are seven years later only now discussing that as a possibility. Stakes are high for motor carriers as the Agency’s “public risk calculator” is used by a number of industries to determine rates and even whether or not to do business with a carrier. Is it a step in the right direction? Yes, but it is both unfortunate and disappointing that it has taken this much time to only be at this point. Get involved and stay involved.