Truck Accident Attorneys Call On FMCSA To Restore Public Access To Safety Data
WASHINGTON, D.C. (TruckingNewsNow.com) — Prominent attorneys who specialize in truck accident litigation are calling on the FMCSA to restore public access to crucial safety data as the agency tweaks its data collection and analytical systems.
As TruckingNewsNow.com previously reported, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has withdrawn several planned broad safety enhancements to the Safety Management System (SMS) and is instead focusing on a smaller test in September designed to isolate and identify carriers that pose a higher risk.
Michael Leizerman is an Ohio-based attorney and co-founder of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys.
“The FMCSA has continually taken into account industry and trucking victim input to ensure mass amounts of data collected are as predictive as possible of crash potential,” said Leizerman. “I support continued efforts to tweak the system. The most urgent issue is to restore public access to easily-understood percentile measurement scores showing how one motor carrier compares to another. This is important in order to give full transparency in crash data and unsafe driving practices.”
Attorney Joe Fried of Atlanta-based Fried Rogers Goldberg, also an ATAA co-founder, concurs that public access to data is crucial.
“I endorse tweaking the system. No system is perfect and we should have a continuous improvement mindset to identify the highest risk carriers. A few years ago, the decision was made to take the SMS scores and make them private. No more public access. While the scoring system was not perfect, it was a lot better than not having any data available to the public. Public access to scores encourages good safety decision making and allows consumers, sophisticated and unsophisticated, the ability to vet carriers before hiring them. I encourage improvement to the system but I am disappointed that there will be no public access to the data.”
The current SMS website provides basic information about motor carriers. While agreeing that something is better than nothing, Leizerman says that transparency — with easy to understand information — is key to consumers making smart, safe decisions.
“For example,” explains Leizerman, “one motor carrier could fail to give any of its drivers pre-employment drug screening that resulted in multiple fatalities when their drivers were on drugs. Another motor carrier could follow all required drug screening regulations and have no crashes. In the past, the first carrier would likely exceed federal thresholds for safety and the public would see a yellow warning symbol with an exclamation point instantly and easily showing what motor carriers have objectively unsafe practices.”
Learn more in the “National Academy of Sciences Correlation Study Corrective Action Plan Report To Congress” by clicking here.