Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Agency to Tackle Crash Preventability

Attached with approbation is Oliver Patton’s recent article in Heavy Duty Trucking. Therein, Mr. Patton discusses the FMCSA’s new proposal to determine crash preventability.

One of two of the BASICs not made public, crash data, if based upon preventability, is one BASIC which, if there are sufficient data points to satisfy the law of large numbers, may actually predict future performance.

The systemic problem with using crash data is determining preventability or fault and the Agency now proposes to treat this issue, Patton states, in the following manner. There are approximately 150,000 reportable crashes per year. Carriers, in order to “continue to operate” under SMS methodology, will be driven to challenge the preventability of these accidents to reduce their score. The Agency, to accommodate these challenges, will retain “contract specialists” who will, upon request, review each police accident report and make a decision. The ATA, which apparently backs this proposal, suggests that 15 people can go through 150,000 police accident reports per year at the cost of $1,000,000 (that is approximately 40 reports per day per specialist). Review of accident reports will be subject to an appeals process if the carrier wants to challenge “a determination of accountability,” Ralph Craft of the Agency’s Analysis Division stated.

Apparently, the result is SMS will set up an administrative system parallel with the court system to determine accountability and ultimately which carriers lose their authority – while saving the taxpayer in the process!


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