Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies collect data from commercial fleets and drivers, ultimately for the purpose of making the nation's highways safer. Information is collected from a variety of sources—most notably during roadside inspections but also from Department of Transportation (DOT) recordable crashes, audits/investigations, and fleet registrations. If this information is incomplete or inaccurate, it can have a negative impact on the fleet and/or driver.
Information collected during roadside inspections and at the scene of DOT crashes is used to calculate CSA BASIC (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) scores and populate a driver’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) report. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) utilizes the information to identify fleets that present a higher risk to public safety, initiate interventions, and prioritize fleet safety audits. Fleets use the PSP reports to help make sound driver hiring/leasing decisions. For these reasons, it is in the best interest of the motor carrier and driver to ensure that the data is accurate.
The FMCSA has developed DataQs (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/), a system for fleets and drivers to appeal incomplete or inaccurate information. Most often, the DataQs system is used to:
To utilize DataQs, users must first register for an account. Anyone may register for DataQs and enter a Request for Data Review (RDR) or an Inspection Report Request (IRR), including commercial drivers, fleets, and the public. Once submitted, the request is sent to the state office in which the violation or inspection occurred, where it is reviewed by a trained official. Often, the inspector who created the violation also reviews the challenge and data provided.
It is important to note that DataQs is not meant to fight tickets or citations. These matters are handled by the court system. However, if a fleet or driver is successful in having a ticket or citation reversed or reduced to a lesser charge, this information may be submitted as supporting documentation in the RDR. Providing this information can lead to the violation being removed from the roadside inspection report or lower the value (weight) of the violation.
Once the RDR has been filed, the requester can review the status of the request or enter additional information/documents through their account. Once a determination has been made on a submitted RDR, the requester will be notified via email. If the reviewer’s decision is disputed, the requester may request another review. RDRs may be reviewed up to a maximum of two times. Additional information about DataQs and the RDR process can be found in the FAQs on the FMCSA’s DataQs page (https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/DataQs/HelpCenter/HelpCenter.aspx).
Correcting violation inaccuracies found on roadside inspection reports and/or crash determinations can help drivers and fleets ensure they are portraying an accurate picture of themselves. Errors on these reports can negatively impact Safety Measurement System (SMS) scores and result in drivers having difficulty getting hired. Below are some industry best practices that will help drivers and carriers file successful RDRs.
For additional information regarding DataQs and the RDR process, contact your local Acuity Loss Control Representative.