Truckers Slam FMCSA For Crash Bias And Presuming Drivers Guilty

Truckers Slam FMCSA For Crash Bias & Presuming Drivers Guilty

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed changes to crash types. Comments suggest reconsideration to avoid unfair targeting of drivers and carriers.

FMCSA’s DataQs system accepts Requests for Data Review (RDRs) for analyzing truck driver preventability in 16 collision categories since May 2020. FMCSA revised Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP) categories to identify unpreventable incidents.

Commenters support FMCSA’s proposed modifications two months after the notice in April. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and others are concerned about FMCSA’s efforts to protect truckers’ safety records.

Todd Spencer, the President of OOIDA, stated that the system forces drivers/carriers to take on additional roles such as crash investigators, evidence collectors, and document uploaders to get a crash overturned based on the evidence, which takes them away from their professional trucking duties.

Spencer also said that the current wait time for a decision from FMCSA on an accident review submission is more than 90 days.

Impact of Non-Preventable Crashes on Motor Carriers and Their CSA Scores

A non-preventable crash on a small motor carrier’s safety record for 90 days or more can be crippling and potentially shut down an otherwise safe carrier. 

Transferring the burden to the agency to determine crash preventability is believed to help keep safe, experienced motor carriers in business and reduce the current backlog of CPDP submissions. 

The implementation of the CPDP ensures that motor carriers should not have to submit documentation and wait for months to remove non-preventable crashes from their record. 

Bryan Griffith, a lawyer representing Sanborn, Brandon, Duvall, and Bobbitt law firm, believes that FMCSA is imposing excessive demands on truckers and treating carriers as if they are at fault until proven otherwise. 

When a state agency reports a crash, safety points for that crash are added to the motor carrier’s CSA scores within a month. The basic constitutional right to be innocent until proven guilty is being contradicted, and the burden of this ‘conviction’ remains for two full years without the FMCSA requiring proof, evidence, or a hearing from the motor carrier.

Griffith suggests deleting CSA points for crash review requests until the incident response is finalized. He stated that removing the unfair burden on motor carriers from crashes caused by third parties would be beneficial.

Werner: Proposal to Allow Video Evidence Without Police Reports

FMCSA intends to classify four more commercial motor vehicle (CMV) accidents as non-preventable:

  • Another car going in the same direction crashed into it.
  • Hit an automobile moving out of a driveway or parking lot.
  • Hit a vehicle when the driver ahead lost control.
  • Been in an accident where a video might be used to explain what happened.

Werner Enterprises has said that it agrees with the new accident classifications, especially those that can be proven with video proof.

The company stated that FMCSA should consider accepting video footage directly from carriers as a source of accurate events leading up to an accident without requiring the police report, which can take months to receive.

The timely clearance of the not-at-fault driver and removal of a crash from the Safety Measurement System could be facilitated by this.

Final Wording

The trucking industry has said that the FMCSA’s process for reporting accidents is unfair because it puts the onus of proving innocence on drivers and companies. If the FMCSA doesn’t answer business concerns and make data better and more open, the result may be much worse. For more such news, keep following lading logistics. We provide you with the best logistics industry news in addition to business solutions.