Starting Aug. 1, drivers will be able to dispute crash preventability

Posted on 07/28/2017 by David Radke

Starting Aug. 1, carriers may be able to dispute certain crashes that affected their CSA score.

Fleets will have a little bit more control over their Compliance, Safety and Accountability score beginning Aug. 1.

A pilot program will be launched allowing drivers to dispute certain crashes, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported. These crashes may then be removed from the scoring system, thus increasing that fleet's CSA score.

The pilot program comes two years after it was initially proposed, and will last for a minimum of two years.

A fleet service's CSA rating is a measure of how safe drivers from that organization are on the road. Many drivers have lamented the FMCSA's method of calculating these scores, as they account for all crash data, regardless of whether the accident was preventable, Overdrive Magazine reported.

Industry advocates argued that unpreventable crashes should not be accounted for in the scores. In July 2016, the FMCSA requested comments on an agency crash-causation study. The American Trucking Association and other industry professionals called for the FMCSA to create a method that would allow for drivers to submit requests for data reviews, or RDRs, through a demonstration program.

Throughout the program, FMCSA will evaluate whether making the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program permanent would be financially and logistically feasible. It will also assess whether it aids in determining the crash risk of a carrier.

FMCSA notes that many studies have shown that being involved in a crash indicates a high likelihood of being involved in another crash.

Rules to the new RDR program

The FMCSA will not be reviewing old crashes. The agency limited RDRs to crashes that occurred on or after June 1, 2017.

Additionally, the circumstances surrounding the crash must fall into one of eight categories:

  1. The truck was hit in the rear.
  2. The truck was struck by a motorist driving in the wrong direction.
  3. A pedestrian or other driver committed suicide by truck.
  4. The crash was caused by falling trees, debris, rocks or another object.
  5. The truck hit an animal standing in the road.
  6. The truck was struck by a driver who was under the influence.
  7. The truck was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.
  8. The truck was hit while legally parked or stopped.

Drivers are encouraged to provide as much documentation as possible to demonstrate the fact that the crash was unpreventable. There's no specific requirement for types of documentation to submit, Heavy Duty Trucking explained. Examples of types of documentation include:

  • Police reports.
  • Insurance reports.
  • Dashcam videos 5 MB or smaller, including AVI, MPEG, MPG, MP4, MKV and WMV files.

FMCSA will make one of three determinations: "Preventable," "Not Preventable" or "Undecided."

If a crash is ruled as "Not Preventable," the public will have 30 days to submit any data to refute the ruling. If any documentation is submitted, the FMCSA will turn around a final ruling within 60 days.

If a crash is ruled as "Undecided," the carrier's Safety Measurement System rating will include the note, "FMCSA reviewed this crash and could not make a preventability determination based on the evidence provided."

A crash will be ruled as "Preventable" if a driver using normal judgment could have anticipated the crash and have taken safe measures to prevent it from happening.

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