Violations after accidents? They can be contestable

Has a post-accident inspection ever affected your compliance, safety and accountability rating? If so, chances are it can be undone.

“Violations that occur as a result of an accident should not count towards your CSA score,” said Robert Kaferle, vice president of safety at Reliance Partners.

All too often, however, hauliers only accept the penalty as a by-product of accident investigation when it simply isn’t – or at least shouldn’t be – the case.

Even examiners make mistakes.

Shippers who believe they have wrongly received a violation should use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s DataQ system to verify the fee. This simple trick can save your CSA score from going up a few points.

Käferle recently helped a freight forwarder customer through exactly this scenario. The trucker was stunned to find that his CSA score had increased slightly after one of his drivers was involved in an accident.

Luckily the damage was minor – a broken trailer light and a laceration on one of the tyres. But the inspector after the accident showed little interest in how or why the damage was there. The only important thing was that there was damage, whereby the driver was considered a violation.

With the airline facing both FMCSA and state-level violations, Kaferle knew exactly what his client should do – DataQ. And to his astonishment, all charges were dropped.

“I want to make sure that every airline carefully reviews their post-accident report and submits any violations caused by the accident to DataQ,” Kaferle said.

In short, DataQs enables users to track and request a review of federal and state data released by the FMCSA that are believed to be inaccurate or incomplete. Kaferle explained the DataQ process in detail in a recent FreightWaves article entitled “Insurance FAQ: What exactly is DataQs?

“If you can find a logical and reasonable basis to challenge a violation, then you should definitely use DataQ,” said Käferle.

However, he warns against believing that any violation can be reviewed. Undeniable violations are rejected, ultimately wasting everyone’s time.

Although the verification process can take a few hours or days to weeks or even longer, Kaferle urges shippers to be patient – ​​because the wait can be totally worth it.

Carriers can learn more about DataQs by visiting www.dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/.

For more FreightWaves content from Jack Glenn, click here.

More from Reliance Partners:

Don’t forget the bill of lading and trailer numbers before hitting the road

Worry-free cross-border shipping is now a reality

Staying warm is the key to surviving the winter emergency

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