OOIDA supports proposed changes, suggests other amendments to FMCSA’s Crash Preventability Determination Program

June 13, 2023

Ryan Witkowski


The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is putting its support behind a proposed expansion of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Crash Preventability Determination Program.

On April 13, FMCSA published a notice and request for comments to the Federal Register regarding an expansion to the program. In the notice, the agency “proposes modifying existing crash types to broaden eligibility, removing the distinction between direct and indirect strikes and differentiating some types for improved reporting and use of the data to identify ways to reduce crashes involving nonmotorists.”

The program, which FMCSA has been operating since May 2020, currently reviews 16 specific collision types and modifies information in the agency’s Safety Measurement System to distinguish not-preventable collisions from preventable ones.

FMCSA’s proposal would add four crash types to the program “to expand the (program) to review even more crashes each year for preventability.” The proposed changes are expected to double the size of the program.

The four new crash types in the proposal:

  1. A commercial motor vehicle was struck on the side by a motorist operating in the same direction.
  2. A commercial motor vehicle was struck because another motorist was entering the roadway from a private driveway or parking lot.
  3. A commercial motor vehicle was struck because another motorist lost control of their vehicle. FMCSA reviewed many police accident reports that included this information but were ineligible for the program under the current crash types.
  4. Any other type of crash involving a commercial motor vehicle where a video demonstrates the sequence of events of the crash.

On June 12, OOIDA submitted comments expressing its support of the agency’s proposed expansion to the program. The Association says the proposed changes would help carriers by adding crash types that can be deemed not preventable.

“For far too long, these nonpreventable crashes have unnecessarily discredited safety ratings for drivers and motor carriers,” the Association wrote in comments signed by president Todd Spencer. “We concur with FMCSA’s decision to further expand the CPDP by modifying currently eligible types of crashes.”

In addition to supporting the proposed changes, OOIDA’s letter proposes FMCSA amend its policies regarding which crashes should be posted in the Safety Measurement System. The Association suggests that “qualifying nonpreventable crashes should not be posted in the SMS for motor carriers with valid CDLs and medical certifications unless FMCSA determines these crashes to have been “preventable.”

In support of this, OOIDA points to the overwhelmingly high percentage of crashes to be determined as not preventable.

From May 1, 2020, to Dec, 30, 2022, more than 39,000 requests for data review were submitted to FMCSA. About 72.5% of the submitted requests were eligible, meaning they were one of the 16 crash types. Of those eligible collisions, around 96% were found to have been not preventable.

“We believe this shows sufficient data that eligible drivers should not have to submit compelling documentation and endure a review process in order to remove nonpreventable crashes from their safety record,” OOIDA wrote.

Furthermore, the Association contends that the agency’s current policies regarding the process to overturn crashes reported to the SMS place the onus solely on the carrier.

“The system forces drivers/carriers to step out of their roles as professional truckers and become crash investigators, evidence collectors, and perform multiple functions to upload necessary documentation for review,” the Association wrote. “A nonpreventable crash posted on a small motor carrier’s safety record lingering for 90 days or more can be crippling and could shut down an otherwise safe carrier.”

The Association adds that given the previous five years of data, the “burden should now fall on the agency, rather than the submitter, to overturn qualifying crashes.”

“We believe transferring the burden to the agency to determine crash preventability will help keep safe, experienced motor carriers in business and will also reduce the current backlog of CPDP submissions,” the Association wrote. “The implementation of the CPDP has clearly proven that motor carriers should not have to submit documentation and wait months on end in order to remove nonpreventable crashes from their record.”

Comments for this stage of the proposal are now closed, and FMCSA will now review the comments to determine the next step. The agency says that upon completion of the review process – and if changes are made to the program – they will respond to comments and announce any updates to the program through the Federal Register. LL