New CVSA committee to address crash data uniformity, accountability for CSA

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The annual workshop of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance of commercial vehicle industry participants and law enforcement took place in Portland, Ore., last month. And according to Scott Hernandez, recently retired from the Colorado State Patrol and current CVSA director of crash standards and analysis, a new working committee was inaugurated there to tackle the issue of lack of uniform crash data for truck-involved crashes and the issue of crash accountability within the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

The Crash Data and Investigative Standards Committee’s ultimate goal is something of a monumental task in an area that’s certainly gained in prominence in the truck safety and enforcement conversation nationally through these last several years, as the CSA program foregrounded the lack of any reliably significant accounting for crash responsibility in the data collected on most crashes.

CVSA committees are where the work gets done to establish policies and procedures as they relate to commercial motor vehicle enforcement in North America, with a goal toward achieving as much uniformity across jurisdictions as possible and to share information about best practices.

The goal of the new crash committee is of a piece with others, to work toward uniform reporting and investigative practice in order to “basically establish a standard protocol and reporting system” for crashes, to “help everyone with better data – to do better investigations, and to be more consistent” in all facets of crash investigation and reporting.

Hernandez notes new committee chair Thomas Fitzgerald, a CVSA member and truck-and-bus-focused lieutenant out of Massachusetts, has driven some of the conversation around the establishment of the committee, noting CVSA “needs to step up and take a lead on this issue,” Hernandez says. “This is something that we should strive to do, but we have to start with the basics. … We’ll start with the training [among state jurisdictions on crashes] being consistent.”

The CVSA website has been recently updated to reflect the stated mission of the new committee, outlining these goals:

  • Establish and maintain a uniform commercial motor vehicle/large vehicle crash reporting protocol.
  • Establish and maintain a uniform commercial motor vehicle/large vehicle crash investigation protocol.
  • Report authorized crash information/data in a uniform manner that allows for stakeholder analysis.
  • Establish and maintain uniform commercial motor vehicle/large vehicle crash training for stakeholders.
  • Work cooperatively with all stakeholders to reduce commercial motor vehicle crashes.
  • Establish accredited training curriculum.