The joint effort between FMCSA and TRALA generated accident data print-outs for rental and leasing companies to review on a quarterly basis. Renting and leasing companies corrected the reports which were returned to FMCSA. In many instances, says TRALA, a large percentage of accidents had been improperly assigned to the leasing and rental company rather than the truck operator.
FMCSA halted the program last February and, in subsequent meetings with TRALA, cited a variety of reasons. The agency said it was concerned with the lack of adequate verification and/or documentation of accident corrections and with equity for other trucking industry segments. TRALA says the American Trucking Assns. and the Transportation Lawyers Assn. have requested similar treatment for all carriers.
FMCSA also said it was difficult to coordinate the federal database changes with state systems and that it doesn't have sufficient staff resources to correct the data.
TRALA is preparing a response to FMCSA in which it will emphasize the unique problems of truck rental and leasing companies relative to the high volume of incorrect accident assignments. The association says it will also argue that serious gaps in safety resulting from inaccurate database information underscore the need for workable data correction procedures.