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There’s a big change coming to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) CSA scoring system. They’re proposing to make the Crash Preventability Demonstration Project program, which had a two-year window starting July 2017, permanent. If you don’t already have a fleet safety solution with a dashboard camera in place, you’ll want to now. 

How CSA scores are changing
Come August 1, 2019, if this change goes through, truck crashes where the carrier was not at fault will be listed on CSA reports as “not preventable.” In other words, they wouldn’t negatively impact a carrier’s CSA score.

Prior to the Crash Preventability Demonstration project, fatal crashes listed on a fleet’s safety profile with the FMCSA did not indicate whether the carrier was at fault or not. Now, with the “not preventable” categorization, accountability of crashes will be considered. 

In these instances, a crash will still appear on the public display of the FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS), but with a notation that reads “FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that it was not preventable.” A carrier’s Behavioral Analysis Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) score, which is the foundation of the CSA score, would also be recalculated with the crash omitted. 

What qualifies as a “not preventable” crash
This basically means the driver is not at fault. The Crash Preventability Demonstration program outlines eight categories of crashes that would be eligible for a review:

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

There is a possibility the FMCSA will expand on these.

Using dashboard cameras as proof 
For a crash to be labeled “not preventable,” a carrier must submit a crash preventability request to the FMCSA. It must include documentation, or supporting documents, photos, or videos, that show the carrier could not have avoided the crash.

Footage from a dashboard camera is the perfect supporting evidence. This fleet safety solution is a critical tool for any fleet, with value far beyond FMCSA documentation.

Our customer Bonnie Lantz, Environment, Health and Safety Director, P&B Transportation, Inc. can attest. Of our safety solution, she says:

“I have a full view into safety and the solution makes everything fact-based. Before I had perceptions of how my drivers behave on the road, but now I have proof. I can see training needs and, of equal importance, our drivers’ incredible defensive driving when cars around them behave erratically. Our insurance company and drivers both wanted the cameras, and I expect it will save us money and give our whole fleet a better grasp on safety.”  

Using dashboard cameras as part of an overall fleet safety solution will set carriers up to be successful with the FMCSA’s new CSA score process. It produces accurate records of exactly what occurred in incidents, so fleets can make a stronger case, so they not only improve CSA scores, but also save money on fines insurance premiums.

To learn more about how to use dashboard cameras to protect your drivers and improve CSA scores, visit: Driver Safety

Oswaldo Flores is a Safety & Compliance Product Manager at Teletrac Navman.

As a former fleet supervisor, Oswaldo has first-hand experience managing drivers and vehicles, ensuring his fleet maintains adherence to all internal and external regulations, policies, and guidelines, including DOT compliance, ANSI/OSHA certifications, and CHP Biennial Inspection of Terminals. Prior to his current position at Teletrac Navman, Oswaldo held fleet and compliance administrative management, fleet supervisory,  sales and business development roles with Pepsi Cola, Time Warner Cable, British Petroleum North America and Legacy Supply Chain Services.