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Crash Not Your Fault? Fix Your CSA Scores

FMCSA Launches Crash Preventability Determination Program

June 16, 2020Ashley Preston

You have the chance to improve your CSA score if one of your drivers was involved in a crash they did not cause on or before August 1, 2019. The FMCSA has launched a new program to review crash data and possibly reverse damage to CSA scores if it is found that a driver was not at fault.

The FMCSA’s introduction of the Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP) has been touted as victory by the industry. Here is everything you need to know about the program, the impact it could have on your fleet, and what you can do to ensure you’d have the evidence you would need to qualify for the program.

What Is the Crash Preventability Determination Program?

The Crash Preventability Determination Program is designed to helps businesses avoid increased insurance costs and higher CSA scores by reviewing crashes where the driver was not at fault.

Here is how the CPDP works:

  • One of your drivers is involved in a crash
  • You collect photo, video, and written evidence (like a police report) about the crash
  • You submit this evidence to the FMCSA for review through the DataQs website
  • The FMCSA analyzes your evidence and determines whether your driver could have prevented the crash

There are strict guidelines in place regarding the types of crashes that are eligible to be reviewed under this new program.

The types of crashes that meet the specifications of the CPDP include:

  • Side or rear crashes caused by another driver
  • Collisions with a drunk, incapacitated, or medically-impaired driver
  • Crashes caused by an animal
  • Crashes that involved another driver breaking the law (i.e. failure to yield or stop, driving the wrong way, etc.)

Remember: The crash is not eligible for review if your driver was at fault or breaking the law at the time of the crash.

How Does the Crash Preventability Determination Program Impact Fleets?

The Compliance Safety Accountability score is given to a company based on the safety guidelines drivers follow. Disputing crashes that weren’t your driver’s fault could help protect your score from taking an undeserving hit. 

Disputing claims can help protect your bottom line too. As your CSA score skyrockets, so do your insurance deductibles and premiums. A higher CSA score shows insurance providers that your fleet drivers are a liability. You might not even be able to find an insurance company willing to represent your fleet if your CSA score is too high.

When you dispute a crash, the CPDP will determine who/what was at fault based on the evidence you provide. If the crash wasn’t your driver’s fault, the incident won’t affect your CSA score or your insurance rates.

Motor carriers participating in the CPDP will see their Safety Measurement System (SMS) information change within 60 days after the FMCSA decides on the case. FMCSA will continue to list all crashes on the SMS Website.

However, crashes that are determined to be Not Preventable through the CPDP will appear in a separate table titled “Reviewed - Not Preventable Crashes.” In addition, crashes found to be Not Preventable by the CPDP will not be included in the carrier's Crash Indicator Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) measure and percentile.

Crashes determined to be Preventable and Undecided will be displayed on SMS with notations that read, “Reviewed - Preventable: FMCSA reviewed this crash and determined that it was Preventable” or “Reviewed - Undecided: FMCSA reviewed this crash and could not make a preventability determination based on the evidence provided.”

These crashes will be included in the Crash Indicator BASIC measures and percentiles. Crashes reviewed as part of the Agency’s previous demonstration program continue to be listed and continue to be included in the Crash Indicator BASIC.

The outcome of these reviews are directly tied to the evidence that is provided. Without the proper evidence to back your claim, you could end up paying for a crash that you shouldn’t have been held responsible for.

In a Crash: What Can You Do to Protect Your Fleet?

Simply stating that an accident wasn’t your driver’s fault won’t be enough to avoid a higher CSA score or higher insurance rates. You need to be able to definitively prove that the crash was the fault of another driver or an outside source.

It is up to you and your drivers to collect photo and video evidence along with promptly filing a police report. You need to prove that the accident was unavoidable and there was nothing your driver could have done differently.

In order to collect the evidence you would need to dispute any claims, focus on:

  • Documenting Everything – If there is a crash and the driver is not hurt, make sure they take as many photos and videos of the scene as they can. This will help the FMCSA see exactly what the scene looked like before any vehicles were moved or repairs made.
  • Get a Police Report – You need a police report to officially confirm that a collision occurred. Encourage your drivers to call the police as soon as a crash occurs so the incident and the details surrounding it are put on the record.
  • Install Fleet Cameras Fleet cameras can provide some of the strongest evidence regarding a crash; helping investigators accurately recreate the scene and the events that led up to it.

The goal is to rack up as much evidence as possible that proves that a collision was the result of another driver or an outside force, and completely out of your driver’s control. The more evidence you can find to send to the FMCSA, the higher the chance of them determining that your driver was not at fault.

Protect you drivers, your fleet, your reputation, and your bottom line. If you’re looking for ways to protect your fleet against frivolous litigation and costly repercussions, contact our friendly team to learn how we can help. We can go over your options and give you a free demo of the solutions you can take advantage of today.

Ashley Preston
After serving as a journalist and communications specialist for over a decade, Ashley Preston focuses on compiling information that helps businesses better understand complicated industry issues, comply with federal regulations, and optimize daily fleet operations.

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