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4.4.5 How Crashes Affect Carrier Safety Interventions by FMCSA

All reportable crashes over the last 24 months are listed in FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS). All reportable crashes are used to calculate a Crash Indicator measure and percentile. SMS weights crashes based on severity. In the case of the Crash Indicator measure and percentile, the carrier’s crash rates are being compared to other similar carriers’ crash rates. A high Crash Indicator percentile suggests that a further examination of crash cause(s) may be needed, and if correctable, the motor carrier should make changes to address the problem(s). For a more detailed explanation of how the Crash Indicator measure is calculated, please see the SMS Methodology document.

Crash Preventability Reviews 

 Each crash must be judged individually.  The investigator or auditor will review all documents available at the motor carrier’s principal place of business, state crash reports, and information in FMCSA’s IT systems.   

49 CFR Part 385 Appendix B, section II.B(e) provides the standard for making a preventability determination: “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.”  

In addition to the 16 crash types eligible for the Crash Preventability Determination Program (CPDP), additional Not Preventable crashes may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Driver was in proper lane waiting to make turn 

  • Driver was proceeding in his/her own lane of traffic at a safe and lawful speed  

Preventable crashes may include, but are not limited to, crashes when: 

  • Driver failed to control speed so that he/she could stop within available sight distance 

  • Driver failed to check cross-traffic and wait for it to be clear before entering intersection 

  • Driver collided with vehicle in front of him/her 

  • Driver failed to maintain as safe following distance 

  • Driver misjudged rate of overtaking 

  • Driver came to close before pulling out to pass 

  • Driver was not in his/her proper lane 

  • Vehicle was improperly parked 

  • Driver rolled or otherwise backed into vehicle 

  • Driver failed to yield the right of when necessary to avoid a crash 

  • Driver failed to check behind vehicle parked at curb before attempting to leave parking space 

  • Driver attempted to cross tracks ahead of train 

  • Driver passed where view of road ahead was obstructed 

  • Driver failed to signal change of lanes 

  • Driver failed to stay in own lane 

  • Driver did not reduce speed in heavy pedestrian area 

  • Driver was under the influence 

  • Driver’s cargo or equipment struck another vehicle 

  • Defect was a type that should have been detected pre-trip 

  • Driver misjudged available clearance 

  • Driver was in violation of company operating rules or special instructions, the regulations of any Federal or State regulatory agency or any applicable traffic laws or ordinances. 

  • Pre-crash out-of-service violation was identified on post-crash inspection 

  • Driver was not properly licensed with a current medical certificate

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