FMCSA Data May Begin Excluding Unpreventable Crashes

Drivers and motor carriers may ask the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to strike records of “not preventable” crashes from the agency’s statistics. The agency announced its data-correction provisions, the Crash Preventability Determination Program, in the May 6 Federal Register (85 FR 27017).

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FMCSA uses records of crashes involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) along with other safety-performance information in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) of its Safety Measurement System (SMS) to prioritize safety interventions at motor carriers. Data on individual drivers is used in the agency’s Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP).

FMCSA July 27, 2017, announced a demonstration project to evaluate a program for submission of Requests for Data Review through the agency’s national data-correction system, known as DataQs, to exclude accidents from the agency’s SMS that were not preventable.

The agency August 5, 2019, proposed to modify the SMS, formalizing the data-review request process.

The types of crashes eligible for review to determine preventability include:

  • CMVs struck in the rear or on the side of the rear;
  • CMVs struck by a motorist driving in the wrong direction or a vehicle making an illegal turn or U-turn;
  • CMV struck while parked or legally stopped at a traffic control device, such as red light, stop sign, or yield;
  • CMV struck by a vehicle that did not stop or slow in traffic or failed to stop at a traffic control device;
  • CMV stuck by an individual under the influence of drugs or alcohol or a vehicle driven by a motorist under the influence;
  • CMV struck by driver with a medical issue that contributed to the crash or driver who admitted to distracted driving or falling asleep;
  • CMV struck by cargo, equipment, or debris such as fallen trees, fallen rocks, or unidentifiable debris in the road;
  • Crashes where a CMV stuck an animal;
  • Crash where a CMV struck an individual committing or attempting to commit suicide; and
  • Rare or unusual crashes such as a CMV struck by an airplane or skydiver or deceased driver.

The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) asked for inclusion of rare or unusual crash types, citing a recent crash between a CMV and a skydiver.

FMCSA supported inclusion of the crash type but expects that most crashes submitted under this type will not meet the standard but likely will be common, recurring crash types. In such instances, the Request for Data Review will be found ineligible and the request will be closed.

DataQs will accept Requests for Data Review for eligible crashes occurring on or after August 1, 2019. Submitters must provide a police accident report and also should provide other documents, photos, and videos to present compelling evidence that the crash was not preventable and is eligible for review. FMCSA may request additional documents.

If a request is closed for failure to submit requested documents or the submitter receives a determination that the crash was preventable or undecided, the request may be re-opened once.

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