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On January 27, 2014, about 9:20 p.m. central standard time, a 2004 Freightliner truck-tractor semitrailer, operated by the motor carrier DND International Inc., collided with stopped vehicles that were providing assistance to a disabled 2000 Volvo truck-tractor semitrailer, operated by the motor carrier Michael’s Cartage Inc., in the right lane of eastbound Interstate 88 (I-88), at milepost 122 near Naperville, Illinois. A flare line separated traffic from the response area containing the stopped vehicles. The responding Highway Emergency Lane Patrol (HELP) truck was using an active yellow arrow board to direct traffic away from the area, and the responding police patrol car had activated its flashing blue and red lights. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) classified both of the carriers involved in this crash as high-risk carriers, meaning that their ratings in the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), which the agency uses to assess carrier safety, were above certain established threshold levels. As a result of the collision, an Illinois State Toll Highway Authority worker operating the HELP truck died. An Illinois State Police trooper was seriously injured in a postcrash fire that completely consumed his patrol car, and the driver of the Freightliner combination vehicle was seriously injured. The driver of the disabled Volvo combination vehicle, who was sitting in the right front seat of the HELP truck when the crash occurred, received minor injuries.
TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Develop and implement, or if necessary, seek authority to implement, a notification program that automatically sends a letter to any motor carrier with Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category scores defined as “high risk,” making it a “mandatory carrier.” This letter should state that the carrier is in high-risk status and should warn that the carrier has been placed on the mandatory compliance review list because of its increased crash risk. In addition, send the carrier’s insurance provider or surety a copy of the letter.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Unacceptable Action
Naperville, IL, United States
Preliminary Report Highway HWY14FH002
Commercial Truck Collision with Stopped Vehicles on Interstate 88, Naperville, Illinois, January 27, 2014
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FMCSA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Safety Recommendation History
We are disappointed that you decided not to develop the recommended notification program that would have ensured both the carrier and the carrier’s insurance company are notified of a high-risk status. Because you intend to take no further action to implement the recommended notifications, Safety Recommendation H-16-2 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.
-From Michael J. Jordan, USDOT/FMCSA MC-PRS, Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation: • It is not necessary for FMCSA to develop and implement a notification program that includes a letter to a motor carrier’s insurance company. • FMCSA has an existing warning letter program for motor carriers and motor carriers have direct access to the information, including alerts, at any time. • In addition, insurance companies have the ability to download FMCSA’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) data, and are downloading that data for use in risk assessment algorithms, which either mirror FMCSA’s algorithms or are proprietary to the individual insurance company. • FMCSA requests NTSB close safety recommendation H-16-002.
Our intent in issuing this recommendation was to ensure both the carrier and the carrier’s insurance company are notified of a high-risk status. We are disappointed that, despite your efforts to revise your high-risk carrier policy, your changes do not include notifying insurers when a carrier’s BASIC scores indicate a heightened crash risk. This notification could prompt the insurer to increase its rate to offset the increased risk, which may in turn place a sufficient financial burden on the carrier to persuade it to comply with safety requirements. Pending the development of the recommended notification program, Safety Recommendation H 16-2 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From T.F. Scott Darling, III, Acting Administrator: FMCSA revised its high risk carrier pol icy in January 2016 (MC-ECS-2016-0009; November 16, 20 15). In addition to changes in the definition to better identify high risk carriers and dynamically manage large groups of carriers based on risk, the policy sets a goal of completing investigations of high risk can·iers within 90 days of the release of the prioritization list. The current average time to investigate is 26 days from the date the canier is identified as high risk. This short time frame renders an additional warning letter unnecessary. Additionally, because the carriers that are identified as high risk have extremely high levels of non-compliance, FMCSA is concerned of the impact of that warning letter on its enforcement activities by providing the carrier advanced notice of the pending investigation. Additionally, given the current scrutiny surrounding public display of the Agency's Safety Measurement System (SMS) data and FAST Act prescribed study that will be measuring the impacts of the public release of this information, providing this information to an insurance provider would be inappropriate at this time. However, FMCSA has conducted significant outreach to the motor carrier industry and other stakeholders on the use of its data. As motor carriers often complain that their insurance is being impacted by SMS information FMCSA believes that insurers are already reviewing their customers' information. FMCSA requests the NTSB close safety recommendation H-16-002.
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