FMCSA proposes changes to Crash Preventability Determination Program


FMCSA proposes changes to Crash Preventability Determination Program


Matt Cole

Apr 12, 2023

Since August 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has allowed motor carriers to use its DataQs system to submit crashes for evaluation of whether the crashes were preventable or not. In 2020, FMCSA went live with a permanent Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP) in which crashes deemed not preventable would be removed from use in a carrier’s Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentile ranking in the CSA Safety Measurement System.

According to FMCSA, between May 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2022, nearly 40,000 DataQs requests in this crash-review program were submitted to the agency. Approximately 72.5% of the submitted requests were eligible, meaning they were one of 16 specific crash types that could be deemed not preventable. Approximately 96% of the eligible crashes were found to have been not preventable.

FMCSA is now proposing to change some of the 16 existing crash types and add four new types to expand the program “to review even more crashes each year for preventability.” FMCSA said the proposed changes are expected to double the size of the current CPDP and provide more data for analysis of the impacts of a carrier’s not preventable crashes on its overall safety. The agency would analyze these changes to existing crash types and new crash types for two years, but may announce changes earlier if certain crash types cannot be consistently reviewed or if there is insufficient information to make eligibility and preventability determinations, FMCSA noted.

The agency hoped the changes as they flowed into the Safety Measurement System itself might “allow us to further refine our prioritization to ensure the carriers and drivers with riskiest behaviors are identified for prioritization,” FMCSA said in a Federal Register notice that will publish Thursday. FMCSA also said it believed more preventability information would make for better assessments of motor carriers’ actual crash risk.

FMCSA is proposing changes to 11 of the 16 current crash types, which can be seen on page 10 of this notice. The proposed revised crash types are in cases where a truck was struck because:

  1. Another motorist was driving in the wrong direction
  2. Another motorist was making a U-turn or illegal turn
  3. Another motorist did not stop or slow in traffic
  4. Another motorist failed to stop at a traffic control device
  5. Another individual was under the influence (or related violation, such as operating while intoxicated), according to the legal standard of the jurisdiction where the crash occurred
  6. Another motorist experienced a medical issue which contributed to the crash
  7. Another motorist fell asleep
  8. Another motorist was distracted (e.g., cellphone, GPS, passengers, other)
  9. Cargo, equipment or debris (e.g., fallen rock, fallen trees, unidentifiable items) were in the roadway
  10. The truck’s crash was a result of an infrastructure failure
  11. The truck was involved in a crash with a non-motorist

FMCSA said the 11th change “would create a separate [crash] type for these events” involving non-motorists. Such crashes are the predominant type submitted in the current “Rare and Unusual” crash category. FMCSA said the “change will allow the agency to distinguish these events and use the information to identify ways to reduce the increasing number of non-motorist crashes.”

The agency is also proposing to add the following four crash types:

  • Struck on the side by a motorist operating in the same direction. (Currently, the crash type is limited to side strikes at the very rear of the vehicle.)
  • Struck because another motorist was entering the roadway from a private driveway or parking lot.
  • 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.)
  • Any other type of crash involving a CMV where a video demonstrates the sequence of events of the crash. (FMCSA said it believes that the submission of videos could allow it to review crashes that are not in the 21 other types.)

FMCSA will accept comments on the proposed changes for 60 days beginning Thursday, April 13. Comments can be made at by searching Docket No. FMCSA-2022-0233.



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