Demo allows challenges to U.S. crash findings

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) launches a demonstration project on August 1 that will allow carriers to dispute crash findings applied to collision since June 1.

If those crashes are found to be “not preventable”, individual Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) scores could improve.

The program emerges following a study on crash causes, released earlier in July.

The agency will use its DataQs national data correction system to accept Requests for Data Reviews (RDRs) to “evaluate the preventability of certain categories of crashes”. 

“The burden is on the submitter to show by compelling evidence that the crash was not preventable,” a related notice says. “However, in these and all crashes, FMCSA reserves the right to request additional information on the crash, which may include any documentation the carrier is required to maintain under the agency’s regulations. Failure to submit documents requested by the agency may cause the RDR to be closed without a preventability determination.”

“If, during the demonstration program, a submitter receives a determination that the crash was preventable or undecided, or the RDR is closed for failure to submit additional requested documents, the RDR may be re-opened once and the request reconsidered by FMCSA if additional documentation is submitted.”

If challenged crashes are found to be “not preventable”, the preliminary findings will be posted for 30 days on DataQs. During that period, people will have a chance to refute the finding before a final ruling is made.

Crash types that can be included in the demonstration program include commercial vehicles struck by a motorist driving under the influence, in the wrong direction, in the rear, or when legally stopped or parked (including when it’s unattended). Also included are cases when someone stepped or drove in front of the vehicle in a suicide attempt, animal strikes, infrastructure failure or other debris, or cargo or equipment that has come from another vehicle.

Data collected through the program will be used to see if preventability rulings have a role in identifying high-risk motor carriers.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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