ATA Renews Call for FMCSA to Implement Crash Accountability

February 7, 2013

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The American Trucking Associations reiterated its call for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to immediately establish a process to remove from motor carriers’ records crashes where it was plainly evident that the carrier was not to blame. 

Earlier this week, FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee heard from a crash reconstructionist who contended that FMCSA could not determine fault in many instances based solely on information from police accident reports. 

“This may be the case with some crashes,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves, “but not when a drunk driver rear ends a gasoline tanker or the driver of a stolen car crosses a grassy median and strikes a truck head on.” 

Currently, carriers’ scores in FMCSA’s safety monitoring system, Compliance, Safety, Accountability, are based on all carrier-involved crashes, including those that the companies’ drivers did not cause and could not reasonably have prevented. ATA pointed to several examples of such crashes that have occurred over the past year:

“Just last month, police gave chase to a driver of a stolen car who crossed a grassy median and struck a truck head-on,” said Graves. “It is clearly inappropriate for FMCSA to use these types of crashes to prioritize trucking companies for future government intervention, especially when responsibility for the crash is so obvious. 

“Including these types of crashes in the calculation of carriers’ CSA scores, paints an inappropriate picture for shippers and others that these companies are somehow unsafe,” he said.

Over a year ago, FMCSA shelved plans to make just these sorts of determinations in favor of further study. ATA subsequently called on FMCSA to establish an interim process to address crashes where it is “plainly evident” that the crash should not count against the trucking company.

“FMCSA has been evaluating this issue for years and is not due to complete additional research until this summer,” Graves said. “We don’t need more research to conclude that it is inappropriate to use crashes like these to paint the involved trucking companies and professional drivers as unsafe.” 


  1. 1. Bob Holmes [ February 08, 2013 @ 04:23AM ]

    They should do the same for the driver involved also, They probably won't, but it would be the right thing to do.

  2. 2. clyde c. kerns [ February 08, 2013 @ 06:32AM ]

    ATA is absolutely correct. Our firm has been involved in multiple crashes in the past 12 months that were ruled unpreventable by our driver and the fault of the other driver. It is unfair and slanderous for FMCSA to score these events against our safety basics.

  3. 3. Wayne Yoder [ February 08, 2013 @ 07:47AM ]

    How hard would it be to add an at fault box to the accident report with yes, no or inconclusive. I'm not opposed to all recordable accidents being listed but they could simply assign 0 points to the no fault. Put the onus on the carrier to prove the inconclusive through DataQs. This would not require a panel working 24/7 to go through all accidents and if a carrier has unarguable inconclusives, those could be investigated through intervention, if it comes to that.

  4. 4. Mark E Haag [ February 08, 2013 @ 08:54AM ]

    It is hard to understand how accident report is not credible enough to absolve you of fault but is credible enough to cast guilt upon you for the accident? Seems to me it should go both ways?

  5. 5. Becky Beasley [ February 08, 2013 @ 02:43PM ]

    A company I worked for had an accident where a drunk driver came directly across a divided highway and hit the truck causing it to turn over, another vehicle came along and hit our trailer as it laid on its side in the road and OK Highway Patrol counted it as TWO DOT recordable accidents on our CSA! I questioned it on DataQ's and was told it would stand as is.

  6. 6. Keith [ February 11, 2013 @ 09:41AM ]

    we have an LLC which has an accident showing up from my sons personal pick up truck where he loaned to a cousin and was involved in an accident. We have tried everything to have it removed, not an LLC truck not even a commercial truck, was not running under our authority. I agree something needs to be done. DataQ told me it would be up to the Highway Patrol, Highway Patrol said report doesnt show anything involving the LLC therefore they couldn't help he.


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