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FMCSA to Let Carriers Dispute Crash Fault

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On August 1, following up on a two-year-old proposal, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched a demonstration program that will enable motor carriers to dispute the determination of certain truck crashes as “preventable,” according to truckerinfo.com (7/27/17).

The program could lead to improved Compliance, Safety, Accountability scores for carriers if the agency reclassifies the cause of crashes previously deemed preventable.

Based on recommendations made by the American Trucking Associations and other public comments submitted on an earlier notice about an agency crash-causation study on July 12, 2016, the agency proposed that it would accept requests from carriers for data review (RDRs) on accident determinations via a demonstration program.

Under this scheme, the agency would accept RDRs “to evaluate the preventability of certain categories of crashes” through its DataQs national data-correction system.

More specifically, FMCSA proposed that a crash challenged through an RDR would be found “not preventable” when documentation submitted with the RDR established that the crash was, indeed, not preventable.

The newly released notice, published in the Federal Register describes the crash types that will qualify for the demo; the process for submitting RDRs to evaluate the preventability of a crash; and how “decisions on preventability” will be displayed in agency systems. It also explains the data to be collected through this program “for use in future decisions about a longer-term crash preventability program.”

The agency noted that for this demonstration program, the DataQs system will accept videos 5 MB or smaller in specific video container formats, including MP4, MPG, MKV, AVI, MPEG, and WMV file types.

The following crash types will be eligible for participation in the demo program:

  • When the commercial motor vehicle was struck by a motorist driving under the influence (or related offense)
  • When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction
  • When the CMV was struck in the rear
  • When the CMV was struck while legally stopped or parked, including when the vehicle was unattended
  • When the CMV was struck by an individual committing or attempting to commit suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV
  • When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the roadway
  • When the crash was a result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees, rocks, or other debris
  • When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle

FMCSA said the crash preventability demonstration program will gather data that the agency will use “to evaluate if these preventability determinations improve the agency’s ability to identify the highest-risk motor carriers.”

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