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FMCSA to Add No-Fault Crash Category to Motor Carrier Safety Rating Scores


U.S. DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking action to change the way no-fault accidents are recorded in its carrier safety rating program. The new regulatory action is important to petroleum marketers because it will remove a significant factor that removes a key data point that can lower safety scores under the Compliance, Safety Accountability (CSA scores). Low safety scores can lead to loss of operating authority. The CSA program, which monitors and records carrier safety data, replaced the former and less obtuse motor carrier safety rating system about 10 years ago. The single biggest complaint against the CSA program since its inception is the failure to take into account fault when scoring commercial motor vehicle crashes. No-fault crashes are counted against motor carriers regardless of whether the carrier was to blame. This has led to artificially low CSA scores which can affect everything from operating authority, enhanced safety monitoring, legal defenses to insurance rates. FMCSA said it will make permanent the current no-fault data demonstration project that allows truck crashes in which the driver was not at fault to be listed as “not preventable” in CSA program scores. FMCSA first launched the Crash Preventability Demonstration Project in 2017 as a two-year demonstration project.

The program currently classifies a crash as “not preventable” on a CSA profile when the carrier is not at fault. However, before that determination can be made, a carrier must submit a request for data review through the agency’s DataQs system, attaching documentation that establishes no fault. Currently there are eight crash categories that can be challenged under the new program. Prior to no fault designation on CSA scores, fatal crashes listed on a carrier’s safety profile did not contain information on whether the carrier was at fault in the crash. Under the new program, if a crash is found to be not preventable, a carrier’s private Crash Indicator Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Category, or BASIC, score would be recalculated with the crash omitted. BASIC scores underpin carrier ratings in the CSA program. FMCSA said that the new no-fault program can be implemented without a formal rulemaking.

Transportation Federal

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