February 7, 2018 11:45 AM, EST

FMCSA Issues Clarification Notice on Nonpreventable Crash Reviews

Citing confusion among some motor carriers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a clarification notice to provide further details on how truckers should request a data review of certain nonpreventable crashes that are eligible for the agency’s demonstration program.

FMCSA’s two-year crash preventability demonstration program went into effect on Aug. 1, 2017, for crashes after June 1.

For crashes in which they are clearly not at fault, carriers are allowed to use the federal DataQs program to have the crashes classified as “not preventable” on their Safety Measurement System profile.

Since the program began, over 2,500 requests for data reviews have been submitted to the agency, FMCSA said in a Feb. 7 Federal Register notice.

However, the agency said that in some instances carriers are seeking requests that are ineligible for review, sending them to the wrong place for review, or failing to submit the proper backup documentation.

“Some submitters have entered crashes under the standard review program, rather than the crash preventability demonstration program, by selecting 'Not an FMCSA-reportable crash,' ” FMCSA said. “A selection of ‘Not an FMCSA-reportable crash’ is for those crashes that do not meet FMCSA’s recordable crash definition of a fatality, injury, or property damage requiring a vehicle to be towed from the scene.”

FMCSA said DataQs RDRs entered into the standard review program will be closed without a preventability determination because they were not submitted under the demonstration program. Also, when a request for data review is submitted for a crash that is not eligible for the demonstration program, the system will close the request.

“For the crash preventability demonstration program, submitters should choose ‘Crash could not be prevented,’ ensure that the crash event date is on or after June 1, 2017, and select an eligible crash type,” the agency said.

There are eight types of crashes that would be automatically eligible for a demonstration program review. They include a crash in which a commercial motor vehicle is struck by a motorist driving under the influence, struck by a motorist driving in the wrong direction, struck in the rear, and the commercial motor vehicle being struck when it was legally stopped or parked.

Other crashes that can be reviewed include those in which an individual attempts to commit suicide by stepping or driving in front of a CMV, a crash that damages a CMV after striking an animal in the roadway, a crash in which a CMV is struck by infrastructure such as falling trees or rocks, and instances in which a vehicle is struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

FMCSA said that the demonstration program was begun due to industry concerns that the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Crash Indicator BASIC may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers for interventions, and that the listing of crashes on the public website without an indication of preventability can give an inaccurate impression about the risk posed by the company.

The data gathered through the demonstration program will allow the agency to better evaluate the utility of making crash preventability determinations, FMCSA said.