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FMCSA program delineates truck crash CSA, SMS reportability; codifies HOS

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s new Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP) enables commercial motor vehicle drivers or owners to submit a Request for Data Review covering eligible events from August 2019 forward. By formally clarifying crash conditions or circumstances, it stands to bring greater accuracy and fairness to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) and Safety Measurement System (SMS) mechanisms for critiquing driver or carrier safety performance.

CSA and SMS records previously indicated crashes regardless of fault or preventability. CPDP and its Request for Data Review provision, however, formalize a process for excluding crashes determined to be non-preventable from CSA and SMS. The program considers 10 crash types or circumstances eligible for review:

  • Struck in the rear
  • Wrong direction or illegal turns
  • Parked or legally stopped
  • Failure of the other vehicle to stop
  • Under the influence
  • Medical issues, falling asleep or distracted driving
  • Cargo/equipment/debris of infrastructure failure
  • Animal strike
  • Suicide
  • Rare or unusual

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Safety, Environmental and Operations Committee and Government Affairs staff have long sought a process such as CPDP, owing to the incompleteness of CSA and SMS crash documentation, plus negative impact on producer members experiencing non-preventable mixer, dump or cement tanker crashes.

HOURS RULE FINALIZED

A final U.S. DOT rule updating FMCSA hours of service (HOS) terms increases flexibility for the 30-minute break provision by requiring a work pause after eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing it to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status. Effective in August, the rule also changes the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening their maximum on duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which they can operate from 100 to 150 air miles.

Rule changes are broad in nature, but offer what NRMCA members and staff have been advocating for years: flexibility, consistency and departure from a one-size-fits-all approach. The changes apply to concrete mixer truck drivers and operators of other commercial motor vehicles used within the industry and to support it.

FMCSA is also modifying two exceptions to the current HOS guidelines: a) adverse driving conditions, extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted; and, b) sleeper berth, allowing drivers to divide their required 10 hours of duty into 8/2 or 7/3 splits, with neither period counting against their 14-hour driving window. The rule changes do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent commercial motor vehicle operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break.

“These reforms will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the motor carrier industry,” notes FMCSA Acting Administrator. “The Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration listened directly to the concerns of truckers seeking rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted.”