FMCSA Proposes Expansion to Crash Preventability Determination Program

FMCSA proposes expansion to Crash Preventability Determination Program

Written by John Irwin CDS. Follow John on LinkedIn or Twitter @JohnAIrwin

Great news! The  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a proposal on the Federal register on April 12, 2023 to expand the Crash Preventability Determination Program.

With this expansion, the program will include more types of non-preventable types of accidents that will be eligible for a preventability ruling.

Since August 2017 the FMCSA has allowed motor carriers to submit crashes for review into the DataQ system to determine whether the crashes were preventable or non-preventable. In May of 2020, the FMCSA went live with the permanent Crash Preventability Determination Program which states that if the crash was deemed not preventable the percentile ranking would be removed in a carriers Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis. The only issue was that the program only considered a handful of different types of crashes “eligible” for preventability determination.

In my opinion, the program had its faults as only those that fit in the eligible crash boxes would be considered for removal. Carriers could have clear evidence that a crash they had was not preventable, but if it didn’t meet the 16 eligible crash types, then it could not be removed.

According to FMCSA, between May 1, 2020 and Dec. 30, 2022, nearly 40,000 DataQ requests in this crash-review program were submitted to the agency. Approximately 72% of the submitted requests were eligible, meaning they matched one of 16 specific crash types that could be deemed not preventable. More than 95% of the eligible crashes were found to have been not preventable.

With the experiences learned over the last several years with the current crash eligibility, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration is proposing to expand on the programs 16 existing crash types, adding 4 new types of crashes.

The FMCSA said the proposed changes are expected to double the size of the current Crash Preventability Determination Program. In return, this will provide more data to analyze the impact of a carrier’s ‘not preventable crash’ on their overall safety score. They also said they would analyze the changes to new and existing crash types for two years, but may announce changes sooner if certain crash types cannot be consistently reviewed or if there is insufficient information to make eligibility and preventability determinations.

The FMCSA is proposing changes to 11 of the 16 current crash types, all of which are in cases where a truck was struck.

  1. CMV was struck because another motorist was driving in the wrong direction
  2. CMV was struck because another motorist was making a U-turn or illegal turn
  3. CMV was struck because another motorist did not stop or slow in traffic
  4. CMV was struck because another motorist failed to stop at a traffic control device
  5. CMV was struck because another individual was under the influence (or related violation, such as operating while intoxicated), according to the legal standard of the jurisdiction where the crash occurred
  6. CMV was struck because another motorist experienced a medical issue which contributed to the crash
  7. CMV was struck because another motorist fell asleep
  8. CMV was struck because another motorist was distracted (e.g., cellphone, GPS, passengers, other)
  9. CMV was struck by cargo, equipment or debris (e.g., fallen rock, fallen trees, unidentifiable items) were in the roadway
  10. CMV crash was a result of an infrastructure failure
  11. CMV was involved in a crash with a non-motorist

The FMCSA said the 11th change “would create a separate [crash] type for these events” involving non-motorists. The change will allow the agency to distinguish these events and use the information to identify ways to reduce the increasing number of non-motorist crashes.”

Lastly the agency is also proposing to add the following 4 crash types to the eligibility:

  1. CMV was struck on the side by a motorist operating in the same direction. (Currently, the crash type is limited to side strikes at the very rear of the vehicle.) 
  2. CMV was struck because another motorist was entering the roadway from a private driveway or parking lot.
  3. CMV was struck because another motorist lost control of their vehicle. (FMCSA reviewed many police accident reports that included this information but were ineligible for the program under the current crash types.)
  4. Any other type of crash involving a CMV where a video demonstrates the sequence of events of the crash. (FMCSA said it believes that the submission of videos could allow it to review crashes that are not in the 21 other types.)

To recap, the full 21 eligibility types will be as follows:

  1. CMV was struck in the rear by a motorist
  2. CMV was struck on the side at the rear by a motorist
  3. CMV was struck while legally stopped at a traffic control device or parked, including while the vehicle was unattended
  4. CMV was struck because another motorist was driving in the wrong direction
  5. CMV was struck because another motorist was making a U-turn or illegal turn
  6. CMV was struck because another motorist did not stop or slow in traffic.
  7. CMV was struck because another motorist failed to stop at a traffic control device
  8. CMV was struck because another individual was under the influence (or related violation, such as operating while intoxicated), according to the legal standard of the jurisdiction where the crash occurred
  9. CMV was struck because another motorist experienced a medical issue which contributed to the crash
  10. CMV was struck because another motorist fell asleep
  11. CMV was struck because another motorist was distracted (e.g., cellphone, GPS, passengers, other)
  12. CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle, or debris (e.g., fallen rock, fallen trees, unidentifiable items in the road);
  13. CMV crash was a result of an infrastructure failure
  14. CMV struck an animal
  15. CMV struck an individual committing or attempting to commit suicide
  16. CMV was struck on the side by a motorist operating in the same direction as CMV
  17. CMV was struck because another motorist was entering the roadway from a private driveway or parking lot
  18. CMV was struck because another motorist lost control of the vehicle
  19. CMV was involved in a crash with a non-motorist
  20. CMV was involved in a crash type that seldom occurs and does not meet another eligible crash type (e.g., being struck by an airplane or skydiver or being struck by a deceased driver in another vehicle)
  21. Any other type of crash where a CMV was involved, and a video demonstrates the sequence of events of the crash.

The FMCSA proposal is intended to expand the program and allow carriers to submit additional crash types for preventability determinations. They will be accepting comments on the proposed changes for 60 days beginning Thursday, April 13. 2023. Comments can be made at https://www.regulations.gov/document/FMCSA_FRDOC_0001-3921.

Personally, I believe this is a positive step in the right direction as this will benefit carrier’s Safety Management Scores. I want to hear your thoughts on the proposals. If you need help determining if your crash meets the current eligibility, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com and we would be glad to help.

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