Crash Preventability Program
Crash Preventability Program
T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
12 July 2016
[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 133 (Tuesday, July 12, 2016)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-16426]
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0177]
Crash Preventability Program
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
ACTION: Notice; request for public comment.
SUMMARY: On January 23, 2015, FMCSA announced the results of the
Agency's study on the feasibility of using a motor carrier's role in
crashes in the assessment of the company's safety. This study assessed:
Whether police accident reports (PARs) provide sufficient, consistent,
and reliable information to support crash-weighting determinations;
whether a crash-weighting determination process would offer an even
stronger predictor of crash risk than overall crash involvement and how
crash weighting would be implemented in the Agency's Safety Measurement
System (SMS); and how FMCSA might manage a process for making crash-
weighting determinations, including the acceptance of public input.
Based on the feedback received in response to the January 23, 2015,
Federal Register notice, FMCSA announced in a separate notice elsewhere
in today's Federal Register that it conducted additional analysis in
response to comments received. However, in this notice, FMCSA is
proposing to develop and implement a demonstration program to determine
the efficacy of a program to conduct preventability determinations on
certain types of crashes that generally are less complex. This notice
provides FMCSA's proposal for a demonstration program and seeks
DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 12, 2016.
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket
Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2014-0177 using any of the
Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. Follow the
on-line instructions for submitting comments.
Mail: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of
Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building Ground Floor,
Room W12-140, Washington, DC 0590-0001.
Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140,
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5
p.m., ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
Each submission must include the Agency name and the docket number
for this notice. Note that DOT posts all comments received without
change to www.regulations.gov, including any personal information
included in a comment. Please see the Privacy Act heading below.
Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or
comments, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit Room W12-140
on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE.,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday,
except Federal holidays. The on-line Federal document management system
is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. If you want
acknowledgment that we received your comments, please include a self-
addressed, stamped envelope or postcard or print the acknowledgement
page that appears after submitting comments on-line.
Privacy Act: In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits
comments from the public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT
posts these comments, without edit, including any personal information
the commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the
system of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information contact Mr. Catterson
Oh, Compliance Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration,
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, Telephone 202-366-
6160 or by email: Catterson.Oh@dot.gov. If you have questions on
viewing or submitting material to the docket, contact Docket
Operations, telephone (202) 366-9826.
I. Public Participation and Request for Comments
FMCSA encourages you to participate by submitting comments and
A. Submitting Comments
If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this
notice (FMCSA-2014-0177), indicate the specific section of this
document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each
suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material
online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of
these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing
address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your
document so the Agency can contact you if it has questions regarding
To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov and
put the docket number, ``FMCSA-2014-0177'' in the ``Keyword'' box, and
click ``Search.'' When the new screen appears, click on ``Comment
Now!'' button and type your comment into the text box in the following
screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual
or on behalf of a third party and then submit. If you submit your
comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no
larger than 8\1/2\ by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic
filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they
reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard
FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the
comment period and may change this notice based on your comments.
B. Viewing Comments and Documents
To view comments, as well as documents mentioned in this preamble
as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and
insert the docket number, ``FMCSA-2014-0177'' in the ``Keyword'' box
and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket Folder'' button and
choose the document listed to review. If you do not have access to the
Internet, you may view the docket online by visiting the Docket
Management Facility in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West
Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9
a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program is FMCSA's
enforcement model that allows the Agency and its State partners to
identify and address motor carrier safety problems before crashes
occur. The Agency's SMS quantifies the on-road safety performance of
motor carriers to prioritize enforcement resources. FMCSA first
announced the implementation of the SMS in the Federal Register on
April 9, 2010 (75 FR 18256) (Docket No. FMCSA-2004-18898). Violations
are sorted into Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories
(BASICs), which include a Crash Indicator BASIC.
Since its implementation in 2010, the SMS has used recordable-crash
records involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) that are submitted
by the States through the Agency's Motor Carrier Management Information
System (MCMIS), in addition to safety performance in other BASICs, to
assess motor carriers' crash histories and prioritize carriers for
safety interventions. The Agency uses the definition of ``accident'' in
49 CFR 390.5.
The crash data reported to FMCSA by the States does not specify a
motor carrier's role in the crash or whether the crash was preventable.
The Crash Indicator BASIC weights crashes based on crash severity, with
more weight given to fatality and injury crashes than those that
resulted in a vehicle towed from the scene with no injuries or
fatalities. While the public SMS Web site provides information on the
recordable crashes of motor carriers, the Crash Indicator BASIC
percentiles created by the system have never been publicly available.
The Crash Indicator BASIC percentiles are available only to motor
carriers who log in to view their own data, as well as to Agency and
law enforcement users.
Research on this issue conducted by FMCSA, as well as independent
organizations, has demonstrated that crash involvement, regardless of
role in the crash, is a strong indicator of future crash risk. FMCSA's
recently completed SMS Effectiveness Test shows that, as a group, motor
carriers with high percentiles in the Crash Indicator BASIC have crash
rates that are 85 percent higher than the national average. (https://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/Documents/CSMS_Effectiveness_Test_Final_Report.pdf).
This document and related reports are available in the docket of this
Because the Crash Indicator BASIC includes all crashes--without
regard to the preventability of the crash, stakeholders have expressed
concern that it may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers for
interventions. In addition, some industry representatives have advised
that, while the Crash Indicator BASIC percentile is not publicly
available, some customers are requiring motor carriers to disclose this
information before committing to a contract.
To identify a methodology and process for conducting preventability
reviews, FMCSA completed a study on the feasibility of using a motor
carrier's role in crashes as an indicator of future crash risk. The
analysis focused only on three broad questions addressing the
procedural issues surrounding a crash-weighting program and the
feasibility of implementing such a program; it did not
focus on any other implications of the program.
The three questions were individually designed and analyzed to
inform Agency decisions.
1. Do Police Accident Reports (PARs) provide sufficient,
consistent, and reliable information to support crash-weighting
2. Would a crash-weighting determination process offer an even
stronger predictor of crash risk than overall crash involvement, and
how would crash weighting be implemented in the SMS?
3. Depending upon the analysis results for the questions above, how
might FMCSA manage the process for making crash-weighting
determinations, including public input to the process?
The Agency's research plan was posted on the Agency's Web site on
July 23, 2012, at http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/CrashWeightingResearchPlan_7-2012.pdf. The resulting report is titled
``Crash Weighting Analysis''; it is in the docket associated with this
notice. The draft research was peer reviewed, and the peer review
recommendations are also in the docket.
The comments to the January 23, 2015, Federal Register notice
focused on methodology changes needed in SMS, and the preventability
Elsewhere in today's Federal Register, FMCSA responds to the
comments and provides the results of additional analysis on removing
tow-away crashes, removing the extra weighting for fatal and injury
crashes, and using a higher minimum number of crashes for data
sufficiency purposes. Additionally, FMCSA advised that it would publish
a separate Federal Register notice seeking comments and input on a
demonstration program to make preventability determinations on some
specific types of crashes. This notice fulfills that commitment.
III. Proposal for Demonstration Program
A. Types of Crashes
In response to FMCSA's January 23, 2015, Federal Register notice,
the American Trucking Associations (ATA) provided a list of certain
types of non-preventable crashes and suggested that FMCSA establish a
process by which documents could be submitted on these crashes and they
could be removed from the motor carriers' records. Additionally, ATA
recommended that FMCSA consider a crash non-preventable when an
individual commits suicide or vehicles are incapacitated by animals.
FMCSA considered this list and, as a result, proposes that on an
effective date to be named in a future Federal Register notice, the
Agency would begin a demonstration program under which it would accept
requests for data review (RDRs) that seek to establish the non-
preventability of certain crashes through its national data correction
system known as DataQs. The Agency would accept an RDR as part of this
program when documentation established that the crash was not
preventable by the motor carrier or commercial driver.
A crash would be considered not preventable if the CMV was struck
by a motorist who was convicted of one of the four following offenses
or a related offense:
1. Driving under the influence;
2. Driving the wrong direction;
3. Striking the CMV in the rear; or
4. Striking the CMV while it was legally stopped.
FMCSA is specifically interested in information related
specifically to these four crash scenarios that would be useful for
this demonstration program.
The Agency proposes that evidence of a conviction, as defined in 49
CFR 383.5 and 390.5, for one of the above offenses must be submitted
with the RDR to document that the crash was not preventable by the
motor carrier or driver. In addition to documentation of the
conviction, these RDRs should include all available law enforcement
reports, insurance reports from all parties involved in the crash, and
any other relevant information. However, FMCSA specifically seeks
comments on what other documentation would be sufficient to make this
FMCSA notes that this list is not identical to ATA's proposed list.
Because some of the crash scenarios submitted by ATA were too broadly
defined and/or may not result in convictions, the Agency is not using
the suggested standard of ``was found responsible by law enforcement
for the crash.'' Previous research by the Agency showed that PARs do
not generally provide a clear determination as to the preventability of
a crash. Relying on a conviction related to one of the crash scenarios
described ensures the Agency will have a clear record on which to base
RDRs could also be submitted through DataQs when the crash did not
involve other vehicles, such as crashes in which an individual
committed suicide by stepping or driving in front of the vehicle or the
vehicle was incapacitated by an animal in the roadway or the crash was
the result of an infrastructure failure. The RDR must present
sufficient evidence that the driver of the CMV took reasonable action
to avoid the crash and did not contribute to the crash. If, for
example, a CMV hit an animal but the CMV driver was on his/her
cellphone or speeding at the time of the crash, this crash would be
determined to have been preventable. In these and all crashes, the
Agency reserves the right to request additional information to
substantiate the cause of the crash. Failure to submit a complete RDR
with the required documentation would be cause for the RDR to be
Again, the Agency seeks comments on what other documentation would
be sufficient to make this determination.
In addition, Section 5223 of the Fixing America's Surface
Transportation, Pub. L. 114-94 (FAST) Act prohibits the Agency from
making available to the general public information regarding crashes in
which a determination is made that the motor carrier or the commercial
motor vehicle driver is not at fault. Therefore, crashes determined to
be not preventable will not be listed on the carrier's list of crashes
on the public SMS Web site.
For this demonstration program, FMCSA is proposing to use DataQs to
direct these types of requests to a group of reviewers under the
Agency's direct supervision. FMCSA has not yet determined whether this
would be a dedicated group of FMCSA staff or if these reviews would be
conducted by a third party under contract to FMCSA. These RDRs would
not be directed to the States.
C. Preventability Decisions
Upon receipt of a complete RDR, FMCSA staff or a contractor would
review the submission using the preventability definition in 49 CFR
part 385. The Agency proposes that the RDR would result in one of the
following three decisions and actions:
1. Not Preventable--In these cases, the crash is removed from SMS.
2. Preventable--In these cases, the crash is not removed from SMS
for purposes of calculating the Crash Indicator BASIC percentile. FMCSA
is considering options for weighting these crashes and is looking at
the impacts if the current severity weighting is used (based on crash
severity) or if a higher weighting is used since a preventability
decision has been made. When crashes are determined to be
``Preventable,'' the crash is still listed on the Agency's Web sites
with a note that reads, ``FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that
it was preventable.''
3. Undecided--In these cases, the documentation submitted did not
allow for a conclusive decision by reviewers. When crash reviews are
undecided, the crash is not removed from SMS and the severity weighting
is unchanged. The crash will still be listed on the Agency's Web sites
with a note that reads, ``FMCSA reviewed this crash and could not make
a preventability determination based on the evidence provided.''
In keeping with the Agency's current preventability guidance, if a
post-crash inspection determines that the motor carrier, vehicle, or
driver was in violation of an out-of-service regulation at the time of
the crash, the crash will be determined to have been ``Preventable.''
The public, including motor carriers and drivers, would be allowed
to seek review of the RDR decision using the DataQs system and
processes currently in place.
E. Quality Controls
In order to ensure the quality and consistency of the reviews,
FMCSA will build a quality control standard into either its contract or
its internal procedures. For example, it is anticipated that a process
will be established to require a certain percent of reviews to be
checked by a different reviewer to confirm consistent decisions are
made. When a different conclusion is reached by the second reviewer, a
supervisor will be responsible for reviewing the case and rendering a
F. Fraudulent Requests
In accordance with the Agency's existing DataQs program, any
intentionally false or misleading statement, representation, or
document that is provided in support of an RDR may result in
prosecution for a violation of Federal law punishable by a fine of not
more than $10,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both
(18 U.S.C. 1001).
G. Agency Analysis
Throughout this test period, FMCSA will maintain data so that at
the conclusion of the test, the Agency can conduct analysis. It is
expected that the Agency's analysis would include, but not be limited
to, cost of operating the test, future crashes of carriers that
submitted RDRs, future crash rates of motor carriers with preventable
crashes, and impacts to SMS crash rates. The analysis will be used to
examine ATA's assertion that crashes of these types are not the
responsibility of the motor carrier, and inform future policy decisions
on this issue.
H. Testing Period
FMCSA proposes that the minimum time period for this crash
preventability test would be 24 months.
Issued under the authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87 on: July 5,
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
[FR Doc. 2016-16426 Filed 7-11-16; 8:45 am]
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