FROM THE HILL
Recommended Practices For Filing DataQ Requests
Note: The ATA and the Trucking Associations Executive Council, - of which the MCM is a member – have developed these recommended practices for filing DataQ requests.
• Attach both a copy of the roadside inspection report (and/or crash report if applicable) and supporting documentation – such as statements from maintenance personnel and roadside assistance services - to all data correction requests. The absence of such documentation alone is responsible for the denial of how many challenges.
• File requests promptly. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that the officer who wrote the inspection/crash report will be able to recall the details of the event and, as such, will be less willing to change the record.
• Explain the circumstances surrounding the violation and why it should be removed. Be sure to include ample details.
• Be constructive, polite and professional – not accusatory.
• File all requests electronically through the DataQs on-line portal. Do not send hard copy request by other means such as mail, fax, etc.
• When applicable, include photos of the violation that were taken during the inspection. Train drivers to ensure that photos are time and date stamped to stave off suggestions that they were not taken until after correction or repair.
Note: many roadside inspectors will not permit the driver to exit the vehicle during a roadside inspection in order to take photos. Instruct drivers to ask permission before doing so.
BE CONSTRUCTIVE, POLITE AND PROFESSIONAL – NOT ACCUSATORY.
• Don’t automatically challenge every inspection where multiple violations were cited under the same section of the regulations (see note regarding “stacking” below). In these cases, only one of the violations will be attributed to your CSA Safety Measurement System score.
• If possible, obtain the “notes” section of the inspection report before filing your request. Roadside inspection and crash records often include a section where the investigating officer has recorded observations or other narrative. However, these notes are usually not reflected on the printed copy of the inspection or crash report provided to the driver. Obtaining these notes from the lead state agency in advance can often provide meaningful clues as to the merits of a particular data correction request. Note: Many enforcement agencies will deny motor carrier and/or driver requests for these notes or will only release them subject to a subpoena or public records request.
ISSUE 4, 2013 | www.mttrucking.org
• Only challenge violations and crashes that should not reasonably are attributed to your record (i.e. don’t file frivolous challenges). See examples below.
Note: These suggestions to fleets for filing successful DataQ requests are merely one component of a strategy for improving the DataQs program. AT has also issued recommendations for ways that FMCSA and state enforcement agencies can make the program more efficient, effective, and equitable. See ATA’s FMCSA’s DataQs: Problems and Solutions whitepaper.
EXAMPLES OF DATAQ REQUESTS YOU SHOULD FILE: • Inspections and crashes that should be attributed to another motor carrier (e.g., wrongDOT number listed on the inspection/crash report).
• Violations that are improperly coded under the wrong section of the regulations.
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