- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking comment on a demonstration program that will help the agency develop a formal system to assess crash preventability data.
- The agency plans to take requests for data reviews (RDRs) about whether certain types of crashes were non-preventable using a data correction system called DataQs.
- RDRs that involve a motorist convicted of a violation in four main categories are of interest for this program: driving under the influence, driving the wrong direction, striking the commercial motor vehicle in the rear, or striking the vehicle while it was legally stopped. Incidents of animal strike, suicide by truck, or infrastructure failure are also eligible.
This proposed demonstration program comes after pressure from the trucking industry and direction from Congress in the FAST Act highway bill. Operators have expressed concern that crashes which were later proven to be non-preventable negatively affect their scores in the FMCSA's database and want a better method for recourse. Even the best drivers can still be involved in crashes, and this program would be a way to clear the record when they weren't at fault.
While specific crash data isn't publicly available, some have said that customers are now requiring companies to share their scores in order to get shipping contracts. As part of the program, the agency will only accept an RDR when documentation proves the crash was non-preventable. The proposed minimum time period for this demonstration program is 24 months.
The American Trucking Associations estimates that the commercial trucking industry spends $9.5 billion on safety each year, and FMCSA data shows that crash rates have declined, but representatives of the waste industry have recognized that more needs to be done. At a recent safety symposium in New York speakers highlighted the challenges and responsibilities of driving a collection vehicle through city streets, stressing the need for caution.