Crash Preventability Demonstration Program


The FMCSA’s announced a new crash preventability demonstration program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a new two-year crash preventability demonstration program, that will enable motor carriers to dispute the determination of certain truck crashes as “preventable”.  But for a crash to be classified on a carrier’s Safety Measurement system profile as “not preventable”, the carrier must submit a request for date review through the agency’s DataQs system, attaching documentation that establishes that the driver could not have avoided the crash.

The crash demonstration program will start on August 1 and will accept reviews for crashes that have occurred on or after June 1.

This program will lead to improved Compliance, Safety, Accountability scores for carriers, if the agency review the cause of the crash and classify it as “not preventable”.

This program was long sought by truckers, brokers and shippers. A year ago, FMCSA was seeking public comments for this idea and now it has been widely accepted by the trucking industry.


Fatal crashes are listed on a carrier’s safety profile, but they don’t contain any information on whether the crash was a carrier’s fault. After this review program, if the crash is deemed “not preventable”, the carrier’s private Crash Indicator Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Category score will be recalculated.

However, for a crash to be considered “not preventable”, it must result in fatality or to have injuries requiring immediate medical treatment away from the scene of the crash.

“Stakeholders have expressed concern that the Crash Indicator BASIC may not identify the highest-risk motor carriers for interventions and that the listing of crashes on the public website, without an indication of preventability, can give an inaccurate impression about the risk posed by the company,” FMCSA said. “The data gathered through the demonstration program will allow the agency to better evaluate the utility of making crash preventability determinations.”


From the FMCSA say that “the burden is on the submitter to show by compelling evidence that the crash was not preventable. However, in these and all crashes, FMCSA reserves the right to request additional information on the crash, which may include any documentation the carrier is required to maintain under the Agency’s regulations. Failure to submit documents requested by the Agency may cause the RDR to be closed without a preventability determination. And if, during the demonstration program, a submitter receives a determination that the crash was preventable or undecided, or the RDR is closed for failure to submit additional requested documents, the RDR may be re-opened once and the request reconsidered by FMCSA if additional documentation is submitted.”

After the review, FMCSA will post a notification of preliminary determination on DataQs for 30 days. In that time, anyone with documentation to dispute the determination, may go to Data Qs and submit prove that should be considered before the final ruling. For this, DataQs will accept videos 5MB or smaller in specific video container formats, such as MP4, MPG, MKV, AVI, MPEG and WMV file types.

There are eight types of crashes that would be automatically eligible for a review:

  1. When the commercial motor vehicle was struck by a motorist driving under the influence (or related offense)
  2. When the CMV was struck by a motorist driving the wrong direction
  3. When the CMV was struck in the rear
  4. When the CMV was struck while legally stopped or parked, including when the vehicle was unattended
  5. When the CMV was struck by an individual committing or attempting to commit suicide by stepping or driving in front of the CMV
  6. When the CMV sustained disabling damage after striking an animal in the roadway
  7. When the crash was a result of an infrastructure failure, falling trees, rocks, or other debris
  8. When the CMV was struck by cargo or equipment from another vehicle

With this program, the FMCSA will gather data that the agency will use “to evaluate if these preventability determinations improve the agency’s ability to identify the highest-risk motor carriers.”