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Non-Preventable Crashes And CSA score

The Crash Preventability Demonstration Program which was introduced in July 2015 by FMCSA may be made permanent from August 2019. This will change the CSA scoring system.

After the program has successfully run for two years, it is now a possibility that it will be made permanent. This will mean that in cases of unavoidable crashes, where the truck driver is not at fault, will be deemed as “not preventable” for consideration of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.

FMCSA’s CSA program has seven categories for scoring:

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Crash Indicator
  • Hours-of-Service Compliance
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Controlled Substance/ Alcohol
  • Hazardous Material Compliance
  • Driver Fitness

The data for the above is collected through inspections, accident reports, or any other violations.

For the purpose of Crash indicator and the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program, “Not Preventable” crash includes the following:

  • When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is hit by any other motorist driving under the influence
  • When the CMV is hit by any other motorist driving in the wrong direction
  • When the CMV is hit at the back
  • When the CMV is hit while being legally stopped, or at the parking
  • When the CMV has hit a person attempting to commit suicide by stepping/driving in front of the CMV
  • When CMV was damaged due to hitting an animal on the road
  • When CMV has been hit by another vehicle or cargo equipment

These are a few of the conditions as stated in the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program. There is a fair chance that FMCSA will be providing better and clearer interpretations.

With this program being made permanent, it will help FMCSA in having a reliable plan of assessing the culpability of a crash and also help in predicting future risks.

How can CMV owners and drivers make use of this classification?

Most commercial motor vehicles have dashboard cameras, installed specifically for the purpose of identifying a fault in case of an accident. In order to get a crash labeled as “not preventable”, a request has to be submitted to FMCSA. The request must contain proof in documents, videos, and photos that indicate the crash could not have been avoided under any circumstances. The video footage from the dashboard camera can be a piece of decisive evidence in this case.

Once FMCSA has approved the request, the crash will be labeled as “not preventable”. This will help in maintaining a healthy CSA score. A poor CSA score often means higher insurance premiums. Also, many businesses check CSA scores and do not like working with carriers who have a poor score. In case of a crash, the score is drastically affected and can hamper business opportunities for the carrier. With Crash Preventability Demonstration Program, it will be easier for carriers to improve their scores in case the crash was genuinely not caused due to the fault of the driver.

It is speculated that FMCSA will soon be proving more information on this new program, and related rules, regulations, and requirements. If it indeed is made permanent, the motor carrier industry will be hugely benefited.