FMCSA Chief Reveals Latest Crash Preventability Findings To Congress
Washington D.C. – Testifying last week before the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the U.S. Senate, FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez updated the findings of the Crash Preventability Demonstration Pilot Program thus far.
Martinez testified the program was begun in 2017 because carriers and drivers demanded a change in how the agency treats crash data.
“How crashes have been used in the Safety Management System (SMS) has been a longstanding concern of drivers and motor carriers,” he explained.
As of the end of the first quarter this year, carriers had submitted nearly 11,000 requests for crash preventability determinations since the program began in August 2017.
“To date, more than 5,300 preventability determinations have been made on eligible crashes and about 93% of them were found to be not preventable,” Martinez reported.
“This is good for the carrier, for the driver and also for the FMCSA because we’ve eliminated bad data,” he said.
Further, Martinez said the agency will soon “publish a Federal Register notice explaining changes to the program.”
The pilot program was set to come to an end in July, but U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao recently gave FMCSA the green light to extend it.
Administrator Martinez also weighed in on impending hours of service (HOS) reform and the challenges with the agency’s Under-21 Military Pilot Program.
Read more from his testimony HERE.
Trucking Coalition Petitions FMCSA For Rulemaking
A coalition of 10 trucking-related organizations has petitioned the FMCSA for a rulemaking if the agency intends to permanently change how it analyzes and publishes data on motor carrier crashes.
The petition was filed on June 14, 2019, by the Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform (MCRR) coalition, which includes organizations representing more than 10,000 carriers, shippers and brokers.
In its petition, the MCRR coalition argued that FMCSA must conduct a rulemaking before adopting any permanent program.
Additionally, MCCR argues the publication of preventability metrics would, among other things, constitute a violation of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and federal executive orders intended to protect the industry against bureaucratic overreach in the name of guidance.
In a release, MCCR contended a key problem with FMCSA’s approach is that the term “preventability” is an artificial construct that does not equate to carrier fault, much less to a systemic violation of safety regulations.
Further, the MCRR coalition argues that the publication of preventability data and metrics would result in increased insurance rates and lost business by carriers that the FMCSA acknowledges are fit to operate and, therefore, fit for shippers and brokers to use.
The coalition alleges the subjectivity of the preventability standard suggests that adopting the trial program as policy guidance would hurt the industry, especially small carriers.
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