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FMCSA, ATA differ on how to determine future crash risks


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the trucking industry are at odds as to whether crashes in which the carrier was not at fault are indicative of future crash risks.

The FMCSA issued a study that examined:

  • Whether police accident reports provide sufficient, consistent and reliable information to support crash weighting determinations;
  • Whether a crash weighting determination process would offer an even stronger predictor of carrier crash risk than the current assessment method;
  • And how the agency might reasonably manage and support a process for making crash weighting determinations, including the acceptance of public input.

The FMCSA is now soliciting public input on how it should weight crash data in its systems, based on the carrier’s role in a crash. Currently, the agency considers all recordable crashes involving a commercial motor vehicle within its Safety Measurement System. It says research indicates a carrier’s involvement in a crash – regardless of whether or not it was at fault – is a strong indicator of its future crash risk.

The FMCSA indicated that changing the crash weights based on a motor carrier’s role in the crash does not appear to improve the ability to predict future crash rates.

The American Trucking Associations disputes these findings.

“Numerous times over the past five years, ATA has respectfully requested FMCSA to screen out crashes from CSA where it is plainly evident the professional truck driver and motor carrier were not at fault,” said ATA executive vice-president Dave Osiecki. “Instances where a truck is rear ended by a drunk driver, or hit head on by a motorist travelling in the wrong direction on the interstate, or as happened just Monday when a truck was struck by a collapsing bridge are clearly not the fault of the professional driver and certainly should not be used to target his or her carrier for potentially intrusive government oversight.”

The ATA has been lobbying to have the Compliance, Safety, Accountability safety monitoring system revised so that crashes in which the carrier was not responsible do not negatively impact their safety rating.

“It is not lost on the trucking industry that the word ‘Accountability’ is in the title of CSA, yet FMCSA continues to ignore crash accountability,” said Osiecki.

“We want to be fairly judged and not be penalized by crashes our professional drivers could not reasonably avoid,” added ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C.  “It’s not only a fairness issue; it’s a good government oversight approach. We continue to trust FMCSA might eventually arrive at this conclusion.”


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