The FMCSA provides guidelines for challenging non-preventable crashes
The FMCSA provides guidelines for challenging non-preventable crashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released guidelines clarifying how carriers can dispute non-preventable crashes and have them removed from their CSA scores.

Carriers can request a crash review under the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program — which was announced by the FMCSA in July 2017.

The agency receives requests for data reviews (RDRs) from all over the country. Then, it determines preventability of the requested crash using its national data correction system, called DataQs. If found non-preventable — the crash is shown but not counted in a carrier’s CSA scores.

Until now, the FMCSA has received over 2,500 review applications, some of which are not following the correct submission method. To make sure that carriers are following the correct submission method, the FMCSA has issued these guidelines. Let’s see what the agency says.

Selecting the right category

The FMCSA has identified that many carriers submit crashes under the “standard review program” by selecting “Not an FMCSA-reportable crash.”

According to the FMCSA, “Not an FMCSA-reportable crash is for crashes that do not meet the FMCSA’s recordable crash definition of fatality, injury, or property damage requiring a vehicle to be towed from the scene.”

Carriers must understand that selecting “Not an FMCSA-reportable crash”, will have the system close their application without a preventability review. Therefore, they must be careful while selecting the category.

Here is how carriers can make it into the Crash Preventability Program:

  •   Select “crash could not be prevented.”
  •   Make sure that the crash occurred after June 1, 2017.
  •   Select an eligible crash type.

Submissions need to follow the above-mentioned criteria.

Explaining eligible crash types

It is also important for carriers to know what type of crashes are eligible for a review. The FMCSA considers the following crash type scenarios eligible for a review:

  1.   The vehicle struck by a motorist driving under the influence or related offense.
  2.   The vehicle struck by a motorist driving in the wrong direction.
  3.   The vehicle struck in the rear.
  4.   The vehicle struck while it was legally stopped, parked, (including when it was unattended).
  5.   The vehicle struck an individual committing or attempting to commit suicide by stepping or driving in front.
  6.   The vehicle sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the way.
  7.   The vehicle struck because of an infrastructure failure, eg., falling trees, rocks, or other debris.
  8.   The vehicle struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle.

Submit supporting documents

The FMCSA requires carriers seeking a crash review under the program to submit necessary documents and evidence to support the non-preventability of their crashes.

In addition, the agency has made clear that it may ask for additional documents and information, e.g., commercial driver license and a proof of a valid medical certificate.

How to reopen the case?

Carriers will have an option to reopen the case.

According to the FMCSA, If someone believes that he/she should file another review for the crash, they can do so by submitting “compelling evidence that the crash was not preventable.”

The agency releases three results under the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program: preventable, non-preventable, and undecided.

If the determination is “undecided”, the SMS ratings of a carrier will show a note saying: “FMCSA reviewed this crash and could not make a preventability determination based on the evidence provided.”

If the review result is positive, i.e., “not preventable”, law enforcement will find carrier’s crash indicator BASIC percentile both with and without the crash.

Carrier’s CSA SMS will still show the record of the crash, but it won’t affect its numbers. It is so because the agency believes in providing “the most complete information regarding a motor carrier’s safety performance record.”

Submitting an RDR

Carriers can submit an RDR using the guidelines highlighted in this article by following this link. The reviewing process usually takes approximately two weeks.

Prevention is better than cure

Although carriers have the option of submitting an RDR to remove non-preventable crashes from their CSA scores, it is still highly recommended that carriers avoid accidents in the first place.

Eliminating driver fatigue is one of the best ways to minimize road accidents.

The FMCSA’s ELD mandate was also introduced to eliminate driver fatigue and minimize road accidents. According to the agency’s estimate, the ELD mandate and electronic logging devices will prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries, and save 26 lives every year.

If you are looking for a reliable, feature-rich and FMCSA-compliant ELD solution, use our free ELD price comparison and ELD features comparison tools.

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