FMCSA adopts policy on hazmat crash reviews

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced in the Sept. 16 Federal Register that it will consider preventability when reviewing crash rates for the purposes of deciding whether to deny a hazardous materials safety permit.

By regulation, FMCSA may not issue a hazardous materials safety permit to a motor carrier that has a crash rate or driver, vehicle or hazardous material out-of-service rate in the top 30 percent of the national average.

The new enforcement policy will apply when a motor carrier contests the denial of a safety permit based upon a crash rate in the top 30 percent of the national average and presents compelling evidence that one or more of the crashes listed in the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) was not preventable.

Preventability is determined by the following standard: If a driver who exercises normal judgment and foresight could have foreseen the possibility of the accident that in fact occurred, and avoided it by taking steps within his/her control which would not have risked causing another kind of mishap, the accident was preventable. FMCSA currently uses this standard in evaluating accident factors under its safety rating process.