Skip to content

FMCSA Considering Using DataQ’s to Transmit Crash Accountability Information

By Oliver B. Patton, Washington Editor

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering using its CSA data correction system to gather information about a carrier’s accountability in the event of an accident.

The agency’s DataQ’s system, which carriers use now to correct mistakes that have gotten into their CSA scores, could be used by carriers to provide a police accident report that shows accountability, said senior transportation specialist Bryan Price at a forum hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board this week.

The aim would be to improve CSA performance measurement by adding accident accountability to a system that now reports only that an accident has occurred. Trucking interests are troubled by this system because it does not distinguish between preventable and non-preventable accidents.

The agency has said that even without an accountability assessment, crash data are a legitimate indicator of safety performance in the future, but it also says it will assess crashes for accountability before the crash becomes part of the carrier’s safety rating.

Price said that the agency is considering the DataQ’s approach as a short-term fix in which all crashes are counted unless a carrier files an accident report through DataQs. Longer-term, the agency has said it is considering hiring a contractor to determine crash accountability before the data goes into the system.

Reaction from American Trucking Associations was mixed. Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy at ATA, said the idea is encouraging. “It shows the agency is sensitive to the need to make these determinations.”

But, he continued, the approach would put the onus on the carrier to initiate the process and under the CSA system, which measures one carrier’s performance against its peers, it’s important that the database include all crashes and not just those that carriers elect to challenge.

ATA favors the idea of the agency forming a team to review all crash reports in a consistent manner to determine accountability, Abbott said.

Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, cautioned that the trucking industry should be careful what it asks for. The quality of police accident reports is uneven because not all officers are trained in truck investigations, he said.

This issue arose during a two-day NTSB forum on truck and bus safety in which board members quizzed FMCSA officials and representatives of the industry, labor and safety advocacy groups on a wide range of safety topics. These representatives also had the opportunity to quiz each other, and FMCSA, so that the board could get a fuller picture of safety politics and practice.

NTSB holds a unique position in the safety community. It is an independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating transportation accidents in all modes, and making recommendations to improve safety.

“Our goal is to figure out what happened and then, more importantly, why it happened, so that we can work to prevent similar accidents in the future,” said Robert Sumwalt, the NTSB member who chaired the forum. Sumwalt is one of five board members, each nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The board’s work is best known to the trucking industry through its list of “Most Wanted” safety improvements. That list currently includes such items as mandated electronic onboard recorders for hours of service tracking, and changing the safety fitness rating method so that vehicle and driver performance can by themselves be grounds for an unsatisfactory rating.

While the board does not have regulatory authority its recommendations carry significant weight in congressional deliberations about truck safety and at times it has been critical of FMCSA’s performance.

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, who attended part of the session, described the forum as a setting for consultation and collaboration, and said she expected it to reinforce some agency strategies and give insights into how to improve others.

“We’re all headed toward same outcome – the concept that safety is not in conflict with profitability, and that safety is a cultural habit and we need to make sure that the environment sustains that habit,” she said.

Printer Friendly Version

Email This Story

Bookmark and Share

Government/Regulations: Related News

5/13/2011 – FMCSA Considering Using DataQ’s to Transmit Crash Accountability Information

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is considering using its CSA data correction system to gather information about a carrier’s accountability in the event of an accident.

The agency’s DataQ’s system, which carriers use now to correct mistakes that have gotten into their CSA scores, could be used by carriers to provide a police accident report that shows accountability, said senior transportation specialist Bryan Price at a forum hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board this week….

5/13/2011 – FEMA Introduces Cellphone Emergency Alert System

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a text message-based emergency alert system for enabled mobile devices….

5/13/2011 – Rockefeller Wades into Fight Over Mexico Pilot Project

Sen. John Rockefeller is taking the Obama administration to task over its plan to restart long-distance trucking across the Mexican border.

In a letter yesterday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the West Virginia Democrat said the administration’s pilot program will endanger U.S. companies’ competitiveness….

5/12/2011 – New Version of Jason’s Law Revised to Appeal to New Congress

U.S. Reps Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN) have introduced a revised version of Jason’s Law, which would create a grant program to help alleviate the parking shortages and pay for safety improvements at existing rest areas….

5/11/2011 – FMCSA Enhances Public Access With Searchable Database

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched a new web page that improves free public access to orders and decisions on FMCSA civil penalty and safety rating cases….

5/10/2011 – CV Safety Technology Bill Would Offer Incentives for Safety Technology

Two U.S. representatives have introduced a bill that would provide a tax credit for commercial vehicle owners to purchase and install specific advanced safety technology, including brake stroke monitoring systems, vehicle stability systems, lane departure warning systems and collision warning or mitigation systems….

5/9/2011 – CVSA Considering Out-of-Service Citation for Drivers Who Don’t Have Medical Certificate

Under new guidelines being considered by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a truck driver who twice fails to have a medical certificate on hand could be placed out of service….

5/9/2011 – FMCSA Reopens HOS Docket; Comments Sought on Four New Fatigue Studies

Four new fatigue studies have surfaced, and on Friday afternoon the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reopened the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking comment period to allow for review of the newly presented research….

5/6/2011 – FMCSA Toughens Driver Licensing Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is tightening its standards for commercial driver’s license testing, and creating a new commercial learner’s permit. In a rule published in today’s Federal Register, the agency completes a three-year effort to correct shortcomings in the driver testing and licensing system….

5/3/2011 – Committee Urges FMCSA to Seek Jurisdiction Over Shippers

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee recommended the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seek jurisdiction over shippers, receivers and brokers who ‘unduly detain’ drivers….

4/29/2011 – ATA, CTA Call to on Government to Abandon Proposed Tanker Wetline Regulation

The American Trucking Associations and the Canadian Trucking Alliance called on the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to abandon proposed wetline regulations….

4/28/2011 – FMCSA Advisory Committee to Make Recommendations on Sleep Apnea

The next step in the federal effort to address sleep apnea in truck drivers will come this summer, when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will ask a panel of advisers for recommendations on how it should proceed….

4/26/2011 – Obama Introduces Oil Speculation Task Force

Last week, President Obama announced the creation of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, a working group designed to root out illegal speculation oil markets. The announcement came one week after Goldman Sachs estimated that speculation may account for up to one-fifth of oil prices….

4/25/2011 – NY Truckers Prevail in DERA Battle

Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that contractors engaged in state sponsored work are not required to abide by the requirements of that state’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act regulations….

4/25/2011 – John Hill Talks About Life at the FMCSA

When John Hill went to Washington to serve on the still-relatively-new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2006, he says, “I thought I would have a lot of say in truck safety in this country.” But, he now says, he discovered that decisions in Washington are politically driven in most cases….

4/21/2011 – New Jersey Idling Ban to Start May 1

A ban on idling in New Jersey will go into effect on May 1 for pre-2007 model year trucks, despite local truckers’ efforts to get the law modified….

4/20/2011 – Former FMCSA Chief Speaks out on HOS, EOBRs

Former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator John Hill believes it’s going to take Congressional action to put an end to the never-ending cycle of hours of service litigation and rewrites….

4/18/2011 – Obama Signs Repeal of 1099 Provision of Healthcare Reform

President Obama signed into law a bill last Thursday repealing the healthcare reform law’s 1099 tax reporting requirement, relieving small businesses of future paperwork burdens….

4/18/2011 – Trucking Groups Oppose DC Parking Tax

The American Trucking Associations and three other groups filed comments with the District of Columbia against proposed regulations that would impose a parking tax on the operators of commercial vehicles loading or unloading in the city….

4/14/2011 – California DMV Enrolls in Motor Carrier Insurance Database

The California Department of Motor Vehicles recently enrolled with the National Online Registries to electronically receive insurance information for trucking companies that use subscribing insurance companies….

4/14/2011 – ATA Leaders Call on FMCSA to Retain HOS Rules in Face of New Data

Officials from the American Trucking Associations again called on the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to abandon their proposed changes to the hours-of-service rules following the release of new data showing significant declines in truck-related crashes….

4/13/2011 – FMCSA Proposes Details of Mexico Trucking Pilot Program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed its plan for a three-year pilot program in which Mexican and U.S. carriers could offer long-distance service into each country.

The program is the result of an agreement between President Obama and President Calderón of Mexico to resolve the long-standing dispute over cross-border trucking. FMCSA will publish the details of the program in the Federal Register on Thursday and will take comments for 30 days….

4/13/2011 – FMCSA Seeks Comments on EOBRs and Driver Harassment

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is asking for additional comments on whether its proposed mandate for electronic onboard recorders sets up the possibility of driver harassment.

The agency believes its proposal would ensure that EOBRs are not used to harass drivers, but in reaction to a recent suit challenging its treatment of harassment in an earlier EOBR rule, it wants to be sure that everyone has a chance to comment on the issue….

4/13/2011 – ATA Chairman Windsor Calls for Sensible Hazmat Regulations

American Trucking Associations Chairman Barbara Windsor, president and CEO of Hahn Transportation, told a House panel that changes are needed to the regulations governing hazmat shipments to improve efficiency and relieve unnecessary regulatory burdens….

4/12/2011 – Right to Repair Act Introduced in Congress

Representatives Todd Platts, R-Pa., and Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., have introduced the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, HR 1449, into the 112th Congress….

4/11/2011 – WIT Meets With NTSB Chair

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman spent nearly four days recently immersed in activities to help her better understand the trucking industry….

4/11/2011 – Senate Bill Would Create Clearinghouse for Drug and Alcohol Test Results

The Senate last week opened another front in the long-running effort to establish a national clearinghouse for truck driver drug and alcohol test results.

The Safe Roads Act of 2011, introduced by Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman, both Republicans from Arkansas, would give the Department of Transportation two years after passage to establish the clearinghouse…

4/8/2011 – Bill Would Allow States to Raise Truck Weight Limits

A bill was introduced in the Senate Thursday that would put an end to the federal freeze on changes in truck sizes and weights, allowing states to allow 97,000-pound, six-axle rigs on their highways….

4/7/2011 – CARB Offers Special Compliance Option for California On-Road Fleets

The California Air Resources Board announced an early action compliance credit for trucking fleets that install a particulate filter by July 1, 2011, or that make a commitment to purchase a particulate filter by May 1, 2011….

4/7/2011 – 2011 NAT GAS Act Introduced

The New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions of 2011, or NAT GAS, Act, was introduced Wednesday to provide incentives for the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel, the purchase of natural-gas-fueled vehicles, and the installation of natural gas vehicle refueling infrastructure….

4/6/2011 – ATA Points Out Outdated Rules to DOT

Responding to President Obama’s call to help reduce the regulatory burden on U.S. businesses, the American Trucking Associations highlighted nine outdated, obsolete or onerous rules that the Department of Transportation should reconsider….

4/6/2011 – CARB Makes Over $100 Million Available For Truck Clean-Up

The California Air Resources Board in coordination with six local air districts is offering $106 million in grant funding to help qualified diesel truck owners upgrade or replace their vehicles….

4/5/2011 – EPA Streamlines Aftermarket Natural Gas Conversion

The federal government just made it easier to convert cars and trucks to run on natural gas….

4/4/2011 – EOBR Mandate Reintroduced in Senate

Two senators have restarted last year’s effort to pass a bill that would mandate electronic onboard recorders on most trucks.

Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., reintroduced the Commercial Driver Compliance Improvement Act, a bill they offered last September but that expired at the end of the congressional session….

4/1/2011 – CVSA: Cutting Funding Will Weaken Commercial Vehicle Enforcement

As Congress looks for ways to cut the federal budget and deficit, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance warned a Congressional committee that funding commercial motor vehicle safety programs at lower than current levels would weaken state enforcement efforts. As a result, enforcement would be unable to maintain the progress that has been made and large truck-related injuries and deaths could tick upwards….

Emil Estafanous, CPA, CFF, CGMA