We get a lot of questions about the DataQ’s system every day.  I’m going to try a give a very simple overview of the DataQ’s system and best practices for challenging through that system.

What is a DataQ?

The DataQs system (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov) is an electronic means for filing concerns about Federal and State data released to the public by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Any user, including motor carriers, drivers, and the general public, can submit a request for data review (RDR) using the DataQs system. You can register for DataQs via the FMCSA Portal or through the DataQs system directly.

RDRs require you to fill out simple forms with information from the relevant report, such as the report number, date and time of event, State, and an explanation for why the data should be changed. You may also submit to the system documentation to support the RDR. All information is routed to the organization responsible for the data. Electronic correspondence is used to communicate with the requestor when additional information is needed. DataQs is open to the public and the website provides an online help function to walk users through the process.

When should I submit a DataQ?

If you find information on the FMCSA websites (SMS, FMCSA Portal, MCMIS, etc.) that is incorrect you should DataQ immediately.  You can also DataQ poorly entered information or you can just use the VigilloQ’s system to do this immediately.

There are times when you can challenge violations that inspectors have found during a roadside inspection and you believe that the inspector was incorrect in their assessment.  These should be done only after careful documentation and review of the situation.

Please remember, be selective about your DataQ’s.  Throwing everything at the system and hoping something sticks is just a guarantee that you’ll be ignored.  These are all reviewed by individuals and not computers, so there are often discrepancies in the process and likelihood of approval.

Examples of things to submit DataQ’s (Please note, this list is neither comprehensive nor a guarantee that your submission will be approved.)

  • Not your Driver/Truck
  • Driver’s name, CDL, CDL state, DOB is incorrect
  • A different violation is listed with the FMCSA than is listed on the roadside inspection you received from your driver
  • An inspection or crash has been duplicated on the federal register.
  • If you had a ticket thrown out of court, you may be able to have the violation removed as well.
  • If you feel a violation has been mis-coded (say the inspection lists “393.24(d) – Improper head/auxiliary/fog lamp aiming” a 6 point violation VS. “392.33 – Improper required lamps” a 2 point violation.)
  • A tow-away in a crash for a vehicle that was drivable but the driver not available.
  • Etc.

Next post next week!  Until then, please go through your data and take a look at things you may be able to DataQ.  Part 2 will be more about the DataQ process itself.