FMCSA to Examine Preventable Crashes in CSA

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it is proposing to develop and implement a program, which would allow motor carriers and drivers to contest certain crashes within the Safety Measurement System (SMS) that generally are not necessarily the fault of a driver.

Based on industry stakeholder’s comments to a previous Federal Register notices, FMCSA considered examples of non-preventable crashes and has decided to develop a demonstration program. The program 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.

The Agency proposes that evidence of a conviction 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 for all parties involved in the crash, and any other relevant information. RDRs could also be submitted through DataQs when the crash did not involve other vehicles, for example animal strikes.

Upon the receipt of a complete RDR, FMCSA staff or a contractor would review the submission using the preventability definition in 49 CFR part 285. 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 the purpose of calculating the Crash Indicator BASIC percentile. FMCSA is looking at rating these crashes for severity, and a crash considered “Preventable” could carry a higher severity rating.
  3. Undecided – In these cases, not enough evidence was presented and the crash remains in SMS, but a severity rating would not apply.

The Agency proposes that the minimum time period for this test would be 24 months.  


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:

  1. Whether police accident reports (PARs) provide sufficient, consistent, and reliable information to support crash-weighting determinations;
  2. 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
  3. How FMCSA might manage a process for making crash weighting determinations, including the acceptance of public input.

If you have any questions, contact Chris Burroughs (, 703.299.5705).