The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on July 31 proposed to make permanent a demonstration program that documents on a driver’s or motor carrier’s safety profile instances when a crash could not be prevented.
The proposal, if finalized, will end a longtime trucking industry controversy over the agency’s practice of listing crashes on carriers’ public safety profiles, but not indicating whether the driver or carrier could not have prevented the crash.
Also, the “crash preventability determination program” will allow FMCSA to gain additional data to recognize possible highway safety risks, according to the agency’s announcement.
The crash preventability program would examine the feasibility, cost and benefits of determining and displaying the preventability of certain crash types, and could expand the current number of “not preventable” categories from eight to 15.
As a prelude to the regulatory proposal, the agency, beginning in August 2017, reviewed more than 5,600 crashes submitted by truck and bus companies to determine if a crash could have been prevented by the motor carrier.
“Approximately 94% have been found to be not preventable by the motor carrier or commercial driver,” FMCSA said.
“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,” Administrator Ray Martinez said. “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.”
The agency is seeking public comment for up to 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Plans to make the preventability program permanent were first announced by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao during a March 29 speech at this year’s Mid-America Trucking show.
The proposal would begin a transition to a long-term crash preventability program that would alter the way crashes are posted on the agency’s Safety Measurement System Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Category.
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