FMCSA To Take A Second Look At Crash Accountability Standards

FMCSA To Take A Second Look At Crash Accountability Are the days of truck drivers being declared at-fault for every wreck they’re involved in almost over?

The FMCSA says it wants to revisit the current crash accountability system and how it affects a driver’s CSA score.

On Monday, Ann Ferro told the Trucking Association Executive Council that the FMCSA will conduct a study to determine the feasibility of using police accident reports (PARs) to determine crash accountability and will focus its efforts on developing a system to analyze the 100,000 state submitted PARs, that come in each year, to determine a motor-carriers involvement in the crash.

While this analysis is a first step in our effort in examining the feasibility of police accident reports to determine crash weighting, more needs to be done, Ferro told council members Monday.

Under the current scoring system, any accident that includes a truck, whether or not the truck was at-fault, adds points to a driver’s CSA score.

Many in the trucking industry have argued that the current scoring system is biased against truck drivers.

“Also, the just-released PARs study did not ascertain whether the funding needed to make determinations about carriers’ roles in crashes was an effective use of agency resources, Ferro said Monday,” The Trucker reported.

In other words, it was unclear whether being able to determine the carrier’s role in crashes would lead to improvements in SMS that would be significant enough to justify the anticipated [millions of dollars] annually required to analyze up to 100,000 crash reports every year, she said.

The upcoming analysis will include the following key steps:

¢ A broad study of PARs across the nation will attempt to determine whether they provide sufficient, consistent and reliable information that can be used to determine the carrier’s role in a given crash and what other information, including input from other entities in the outcome of a crash determination, should be used to supplement PARs for maximum reliability.

¢ FMCSA will conduct analysis to determine if the carrier’s role in a given crash is a better indicator of future crash risk. If so, the analysis will determine the impact of weighting crashes differently in SMS.

¢ Throughout this analysis, research will also be reviewed from similar programs in other countries (e.g., Canada) to understand their analysis, processes, and applicability to SMS.

The results of this study will be available in the summer of 2013 and FMCSA will develop a plan for implementing appropriate crash determinations, the administrator said.

FMCSA designed the SMS to be continually improved as better data, information, and analysis become available. This crash weighting analysis project is part of that effort and FMCSA will evaluate it to determine if the role of carriers in crashes will provide additional data to improve the effectiveness of the SMS, Ferro told the association. The data gained will help us determine the ability of FMCSA to address the volume of crashes within our current resources.

In a press release the FMCSA stated, “The results of this study will be available in the summer of 2013. Based on the results, FMCSA will develop the Agency’s plan forward for determining a carrier’s role in a crash and the potential use of this new information in the Agency’s safety programs– including SMS.”