Readers of the Vigillo blog know that majority of informed people agree on the positive aim of the federal government’s CSA program – reducing injuries and fatalities on our nation’s highways and roads. Once you get into the details of the CSA calculations, however, there are several contentious issues – perhaps none more divisive than CSA’s continuing non-inclusion of preventability in calculating a motor carrier’s Crash Indicator BASIC. This was an issue when CSA was first announced – here’s an article arguing for the inclusion of crash preventability from August 2010, four months before CSA went live, to prove the point.
FMCSA Reversed Course in 2012
You may remember that the FMCSA was on course as recently as March 2012 to include Police Accident Reports (PARs) to help determine crash preventability when it suddenly reversed course and stopped the proposed initiative. Why? FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro “explained in an interview that safety advocacy groups raised questions about the proposal that caused her to reconsider the agency’s approach.”
Crash Preventability Issue Gaining Traction
Recently, this topic is appearing on the radar nationally again and seems to be picking up steam. For example, industry advocacy group The American Trucking Associations (ATA) recently released a study that shows 80 percent of car-truck crashes are caused by car drivers. Following this, the ATA renewed its call for crash accountability from the FMCSA. From the article:
“Just last month, police gave chase to a driver of a stolen car who crossed a grassy median and struck a truck head-on,” said ATA President Bill Graves. It is clearly inappropriate for FMCSA to use these types of crashes to prioritize trucking companies for future government intervention, especially when responsibility for the crash is so obvious,” he said in a statement.
This mirrors my personal experience talking to Safety Directors and motor carrier executives over the past several years. The unfairness of labeling motor carriers as “on alert” or above the intervention threshold as a result of a non-preventable crash is palpable for these folks.
Earlier this week, the FMCSA responded to industry concerns by announcing continued research on the crash preventability issue, expected to be concluded this summer, followed by a specific proposal followed by public comment – according to an article at The Trucker.com.
Based on this information, I personally believe that we will see movement on this issue in the future – but likely not until 2014 at the earliest. Vigillo will keep watching this issue and let you know as developments occur. Safe driving!