After a decade of trucking companies complaining that the government unfairly counted crashes against their safety record that were not their fault, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration unveiled a permanent Crash Preventability Determination Program.
This will make permanent and expand upon a pilot program that evaluated the effects of not counting a crash in which a motor carrier was not at fault when calculating the carrier’s safety measurement profile. It also is expanding the types of crashes that may be considered.
Under this program, if carriers have an eligible crash that occurred on or after Aug. 1, 2019, they may submit a Request for Data Review (RDR) with the required police accident report and other supporting documents, photos, or videos through the FMCSA's DataQs website.
“Since the inception of CSA, the industry argued that drivers and carriers should not be judged based on crashes they could not have prevented,” said P. Sean Garney, vice president of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, in reaction to the new program. “The demonstration program was a positive step in this direction.”
Last summer, the FMCSA proposed a permanent crash preventability determination program to gain additional data to recognize possible safety risks on the nation’s roads. The crash preventability program was designed to examine the feasibility, costs and benefits of determining and displaying the preventability of certain crash types.
Under the pilot program, in place since 2017, the FMCSA reviewed more than 5,600 crashes submitted by truck and bus companies to determine if the crash could have been prevented by the carrier. In 94% of cases, it was found that the accidents were not preventable by the driver or carrier.
Details of the Truck Crash Preventability Program
Garney highlighted some of the program details and how the new program differs from the pilot program:
- This program will completely remove crashes determined preventable from a carrier’s safety management system prioritization algorithm. That means a carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC score will no longer be calculated using non-preventable crashes. (The Demonstration Program used non-preventable crashes in the calculation but offered carriers an alternative calculation.)
- All crashes will still be listed on the FMCSA website, but they will include a notation indicating the crash was reviewed and the result of the review.
- Crashes deemed not-preventable will be noted as such on a drivers Pre-employment Screening record (PSP) There was no such notation during the demonstration program.
- Carriers will be able to request review of all crashes that occurred on or after Aug. 1, 2019 (the demonstration program cut off was July 31, 2019).
- FMCSA is streamlining the process be eliminating the 30-day public notice before a review can be finalized. The public can still submit comments, but determinations will not be held up.
- Police accident reports (PARs) will be required for all requests for review. They are the single most reliable source for crash information. This has been validated numerous times through research conducted by FMCSA and other institutions.
“Notating the driver’s PSP record with a preventability determination will likely result in wider use of the program,” Garney said. “The additional volume may yield important insights into the cause of truck crashes and how to prevent them in the future, something FMCSA has been placing renewed focus on lately.”