FMCSA Grant Helps West Virginia Report CMV Crashes
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West Virginia will use a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration grant for $140,729, announced recently by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), to provide more accurate and timely data to state law enforcement about commercial motor vehicle safety accidents.
Jeff Schoolcraft, director of the West Virginia Public Service Commission’s transportation division, told Transport Topics that federal funds will enable the state to educate law enforcement agencies about components of its Uniform Traffic Crash Report regarding commercial motor vehicles and FMCSA’s need for timely and complete data.
In West Virginia, the commission is tasked with overseeing safety enforcement and inspections of motor vehicles operated by interstate and intrastate motor and private carriers, commercial motor vehicles and drivers. Officers enforce compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation regulations using safety criteria adopted by the state commission.
The state’s traffic crash reports contain information about accidents, drivers, road conditions, injuries, potential causes, roadway locations, interchanges, types of collisions, weather, road surface conditions, lighting, contributing circumstances, narratives, crash diagrams, etc. Additional data is required for commercial vehicles such as carrier information and classification, DOT and state identification numbers, hazardous materials data, commercial vehicle configurations, and gross and combination vehicle weight ratings.
Schoolcraft said that while West Virginia’s data criteria rating is “good” for commercial vehicle traffic crash reports, the grant will enable the state to maintain that high State Safety Data Quality rating with FMCSA.
West Virginia will begin an outreach program in January to law enforcement agencies about FMCSA’s requirements, updated in 2020 in a web dashboard with performance measures for states. FMCSA ratings are “good” for reporting 90% to 100% of state-evaluated crash records within 90 days of an occurrence. Other measures are “fair” (65% to 89%) and “poor” (64% and less) for rates within the same 90-day window.
“This program will have no impact on the trucking industry. This is educational and outreach for law enforcement agencies only,” Schoolcraft added.
Manchin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that grant and another Sept. 13 for $336,000 to the state Department of Motor Vehicles for technology upgrades in USDOT allocations to improve West Virginia’s transportation services.
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