American Trucking Assns.’ leaders expressed “serious concern” over the recent decision by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to continue to hold the trucking industry responsible in its CSA program for every truck-involved crash, including those which the truck driver could not have prevented.
ATA says the FMCSA buckled to pressure by anti-truck groups when it determined it would not add crash accountability determination process to the CSA program to make it fair to truckers.
ATA and other industry groups had requested FMCSA develop a process where police accident reports would be reviewed to determine crash accountability and remove non-preventable crashes from a carrier’s CSA profile.
After pressure from some special interest groups who have questioned the reliability of police accident reports, FMCSA now has shelved these plans, ATA claimed.
“By backtracking on their commitment to implement a crash accountability determination process in early 2012 to hold carriers accountable for crashes clearly caused by the actions or inactions of a truck driver, FMCSA has bowed to anti-industry interest groups and unfairly called into question the integrity of police accident reports prepared by America’s law enforcement community,” Bill Graves, ATA president & CEO, said.
“With FMCSA moving ahead with its CSA carrier oversight system, it is more important than ever that the agency uses not only the best data, but also common sense to ensure it is targeting the right carriers and drivers for oversight,” Graves added.
FMCSA’s research and data found that when driver actions are cited as a main reason for a car-truck collision, the driver of the smaller, non-commercial vehicle is cited in a majority of cases.
Under what ATA calls “FMCSA’s blame truck drivers first policy,” carriers have had their CSA scores elevated for these crashes, and many, many others like them:
• A December 2011 crash where the driver of a stolen SUV being pursued by police crashed into the back of a tank truck.
• A January 2012 crash involving a Utah State student who was texting and Facebook messaging when she rear-ended a tank truck.
• A February 2012 crash in Pennsylvania where an SUV traveling the wrong way on Interstate 70 collided with a tractor-trailer traveling in the proper direction.
• A February 2012 crash in Tennessee where an SUV crossed the median of Interstate 40 and struck a tractor-trailer traveling in the opposite direction.
“Every fleet dreads word that one of their trucks and drivers has been involved in a crash,” said ATA Chairman Dan England, chairman of C.R. England, Salt Lake City. “Every day, companies and drivers are working hard to make sure our roads are as safe as they can be, which is why ATA has supported FMCSA in its effort to improve carrier oversight through CSA. However, we all know that not every crash involving one of our trucks can be prevented by the truck driver, so we’ve been making the common sense, reasonable request for several years that FMCSA hold us accountable for what we can prevent and not hold us accountable in the CSA program for crashes we simply cannot prevent. Unfortunately, it seems that FMCSA wants to side with special interests rather than with law enforcement and thousands of safety conscious carriers in this country.”