The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has backtracked on its plan to review non at-fault truck crashes as they are used to determine a carrier’s CSA safety rating.
According to a report by Heavy Duty Trucking, the agency decided to reverse course on its long-planned correction of how the system weighs non-preventable crashes.
When the system was being tested in 2009 carriers raised concerns about the way the system records non at-fault crashes as part of its crash indicator score. Under the system, a carrier’s score could potentially go up and trigger enforcement action as a result of an incident that could not have been prevented.
Although the agency defended its decision to record non at-fault accidents in the database, it agreed to include a different score weighting system for non-preventable crashes by allowing carriers to use a CSA data correction system (called DataQs) to submit a Police Accident Report and get an assessment of accountability on their crashes.
HDT reports that plan was supposed to be published in the Federal Register last early this month but the agency has backed off.
In an interview, FMCSA administrator Anne Ferro said that “safety advocacy groups” raised questions about the proposal that caused her to reconsider the agency’s approach.
She said that allowing a Police Accident Report and a carrier’s statement to assess crash accountability is too limited because it does not allow for comment “from others impacted by the crash” and other parties don’t know that a carrier is filing a request for an accountability examination.
If the agency did create a mechanism for others to participate in the review, it would have to create a new process to manage the exchange.
Trucking organizations like the National Tank Truck Carriers and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) expressed disappointment with the decision.
“With respect to all of the crashes that clearly are not the driver’s fault, its an error to include every one of those in the database,” Rob Abbott, ATA’s VP of safety, told the magazine.