FMCSA proposing crash-data appeals process for drivers

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators are answering a call from drivers and carriers to fix the review process for questions about the accuracy of safety data.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking feedback from the trucking industry on a proposed process that involves FMCSA being the final arbiter of alleged inaccuracies in crash and inspection data stored by state agencies.

The proposed change in the review process was triggered by concerns about transparency and uniformity in the way initial Requests for Data Review (RDRs) are addressed at state-level motor vehicle safety offices — and specifically, RDR Reconsiderations.

“Stakeholders note that program offices do not have a uniform process for initial RDR reviews or for handling RDR Reconsiderations,” FMCSA stated in a notice and request for comments published on Wednesday.

“They have also noted concern that RDR Reconsiderations are, in many instances, reviewed and decided by the same reviewer as the initial request. Users are calling on FMCSA to ensure an opportunity for an independent review, with consistently applied standards, for data correction requests.”

Drivers and carriers, along with federal and state agencies, use FMCSA’s DataQs system to request and track a review of safety performance data stored in the agency’s Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) that they believe to be incomplete or incorrect. (States collect and submit crash and inspection data, including violations documented during such inspections, into state data systems that transmit that data into MCMIS.)

The DataQs system, according to FMCSA, “provides users an opportunity to seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated by FMCSA. It enables all users to improve the accuracy of FMCSA’s data-driven safety systems that help prevent crashes, injuries, and fatalities related to CMVs [commercial motor vehicles].”

After a decision is made on the initial review of the RDR, the requester may ask that the RDR be reviewed again — an RDR Reconsideration — which is currently recognized as being final.

FMCSA is proposing, however, to develop an independent appeal process that will let DataQs users request an FMCSA appeal after the RDR has been denied through both the initial review and the RDR Reconsideration processes. “Neither the requestor nor the program office may submit new facts or evidence at the time of this third and final appeal request or during its review,” FMCSA noted.

FMCSA proposed to limit RDRs accepted for FMCSA appeal to requests that “pertain to significant matters of legal interpretation or implementation of enforcement policies or regulations,” the agency said.

“Requests involving mere factual dispute between parties would not ordinarily be accepted for review through the FMCSA appeal process. Additionally, RDRs submitted to the Crash Preventability Determination Program and petitions to the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, would not be eligible for an FMCSA appeal.”

RDR appeals accepted by FMCSA would be final, the agency stated.

FMCSA is providing a 60-day public comment period on its proposal.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

The post FMCSA proposing crash-data appeals process for drivers appeared first on FreightWaves.

Source: freightwaves - FMCSA proposing crash-data appeals process for drivers
Editor: John Gallagher