FMCSA wants to make crash preventability determination program permanent

July 31, 2019

Mark Schremmer


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a proposal to make its crash preventability determination program permanent.

FMCSA started the program in August 2017, reviewing more than 5,600 crashes submitted by truck and bus companies to determine if a crash could have been prevented by a motor carrier. According to the agency, 94% of the crashes were found to be unpreventable by the motor carrier or commercial driver.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in March announced plans to make the program permanent at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

In addition to transitioning to a long-term crash preventability determination program, FMCSA is proposing the removal of nonpreventable crashes from the Safety Measurement System’s crash indicator BASIC, expanding the types of crashes that can be evaluated from eight to 15.

“Data drives our agency’s decisions, and the information we’ve received and analyzed during the demonstration project informed our action today to expand and improve the preventability program,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said in a news release. “We’ve listened to carriers, drivers and other commercial motor vehicle stakeholders throughout each step of this process and strongly encourage all interested parties to submit comments on our proposed changes.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said the proposal is a move in the right direction.

“OOIDA supports the permanent establishment of the crash preventability determination program,” said Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs. “For far too long, these nonpreventable crashes have unnecessarily discredited safety ratings for drivers and motor carriers. We also applaud FMCSA for expanding the types of crashes that can be reviewed and for removing nonpreventable crashes from the SMS crash indicator BASIC.”

Under the proposal, the 15 crash types would be:

  • Struck in rear.
  • Legally stopped or parked.
  • Suicides or suicide attempts.
  • Wrong direction.
  • Animal strikes.
  • Individuals under the influence.
  • Infrastructure failure or struck by cargo, equipment or debris.
  • Struck on the side in the rear.
  • Commercial motor vehicle struck by vehicle that did not stop or slow in traffic.
  • CMV struck by vehicle that failed to stop at a traffic control device.
  • CMV struck by vehicle making U-turn or illegal turn.
  • CMV struck by driver who experiences medical issue.
  • CMV struck by driver who admits falling asleep or to distracted driving.
  • When crash involves an individual under the influence even if the CMV was struck by another vehicle involved in the crash.
  • When crash involves a driver operating in wrong direction even if CMV was struck by another vehicle involved in the crash.

It is unclear when the proposal will publish in the Federal Register. Once it does, it will be open for comments for 60 days. Comments will be able to be submitted at by entering docket number FMCSA-2014-0177.

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.