The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers a program known as DataQs that allows motor carriers to challenge certain information. The FMCSA maintains a database called the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) that contains records of crashes reported to the Department of Transportation (DOT), investigative reports that accompany the crashes, and roadside inspection results.
How the FMCSA receives its information
State law enforcement agencies bear the responsibility of completing crash reports and roadside inspections and then uploading that information to MCMIS. It also goes to other data and scoring systems maintained by the FMCSA. These include the Compliance, Safety, and Administration (CSA) program and the Safety Measurement System (SMS).
Prior to the implementation of the DataQs program, motor carriers who wanted to challenge what they believed to be inaccurate information supplied by states had to find the appropriate motor carrier safety office in the state that supplied the FMCSA with information. Once he or she did that, the motor carrier also needed to locate the person who prepared the report and file a formal written challenge. This was exceptionally difficult for both motor carriers and the FMCSA. In some situations, the FMCSA was not even aware that a challenge had taken place.
Common reasons motor carriers choose to challenge FMCSA data
Law enforcement officers and roadside inspectors are only human and will occasionally make a mistake. This is one reason why drivers opt to file a challenge in the DataQs system. They may also feel like they received unfair treatment. Some specific examples of why a commercial driver might file a challenge via DataQs include:
- The crash or roadside inspection report listed the driver’s name in error and it actually belongs to someone else.
- A crash listed under a motor carrier’s data didn’t meet the criteria of a DOT-reportable crash. In other words, no injuries or fatalities occurred, no one required immediate treatment away from the accident scene, and the vehicle didn’t require towing due to the accident.
- The driver has a physical copy of a roadside inspection report but cannot locate the report in MCMIS.
- The roadside inspector indicated a violation by the motor carrier on his or her report that shouldn’t have counted as a violation. Violations for still using an automated onboard recording device is an example of this type of error since drivers have until December 16, 2019 to phase it out and begin using an electronic recording device.
- The driver didn’t receive a copy of his or her inspection report or received it but lost it.
How to register for a DataQs account
If you don’t yet have an account and wish to file a challenge regarding your records, you first need to navigate to the DataQs page and complete the registration. Once you have done that, you can click on the Add a Request button and follow the instructions to submit your formal challenge.
Is it time for an insurance review?
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