FMCSA Crash Fault in Carrier Scores
As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) program, the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) is making plans to remove certain types of crashes from a carriers’ score. FMCSA is scheduled to share their plan soon and will then allow comments for 60 days.
If the rule is made final it would begin on October 1, 2019. The rule allows carriers, including owner-operators, the ability to dispute 15 types of crashes and have the associated points in the disputed crash removed from their Crash Indicator BASIC percentile ranking (which is essentially their “score”) in this category. FMCSA claims this is an opportunity for non-preventable crashes to be removed from these scores and allow for a more reformed system.
However, the reality is this rule is extremely dangerous. Police officers can state incorrect information on a police report. Their definition of fault is also different than the definition of a preventable accident, which we see often when it comes to wide right turn cases. For these reasons, and others, attorneys litigate personal injury cases with disputed liability on a regular basis.
This rule is extremely one-sided as well. Allowing carriers to dispute a crash, but not allowing interested parties to formally argue the matter takes away the voice of others.
And the unfortunate part is this rule will also open the door for politics to come into play. With the announcement of this program, it would appear that door has already been opened.