FMCSA debuts permanent crash preventability determination program

Multiple crashes and icy roads shut down Snoqualmie Pass

Today the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that the agency plans to make the transition to a long term crash preventability determination program in order to “gain additional data to recognize possible safety risks on our nation’s roads.”

The new crash preventability determination program would be the permanent implementation of a two year program that started in August of 2017. The program allowed carriers to request a review of the crash if the carrier believed that the crash was unavoidable. Part of the purpose of the program was to help the FMCSA to better identify high risk motor carriers.

During the two year program, crashes with following characteristics that happened on or after June 1, 2017 were eligible for a preventability review:

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

The FMCSA reported “strong participation in the program from motor carriers” and said that they reviewed more than 5,600 crashes since August 2017. Of those crashes, “approximately 94% have been found to be not preventable by the motor carrier or commercial driver,” the agency reports.

The FMCSA is also proposing the removal of not preventable crashes from the Safety Measurement System Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category (BASIC), and expanding the types of crashes that can be evaluated from eight to fifteen.

“Data drives our agency’s decisions, and the information we’ve received and analyzed during the demonstration project informed our action today to expand and improve the crash preventability program,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Marinez. “We’ve listened to carriers, drivers, and other commercial motor vehicle stakeholders throughout each step of this process, and strongly encourage all interested parties to submit comments on our proposed changes.”

For more information and to learn how to submit comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, click here. Public comments will be accepted for 60 days.

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