Looking Both Ways
This post of Look Both Ways will take a look at DataQ’s.
Data Q’s is a module of FMCSA’s website which allows Drivers, Carriers and even the general public to contest or challenge the accuracy of data contained within the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).
Driver specific information is contained in PSP Reports - records of information on individual drivers. Each PSP report contains all crash data for the most recent five year period and roadside inspection data by individual driver for the most recent three year period.
In what areas of a PSP Report should drivers look for discrepancies?
Â· Make sure that your name, license information and date of birth is correct for each of the roadside inspections. It is all too easy for another driver’s inspection whose personal information is similar to yours to be placed in your report.
Â· Ensure that the violations and their corresponding violations codes are correct and indeed are the violations that were discovered during the inspection.
Â· Is there any information that is repeated?
Â· Was the violation justified? Perhaps you were written up for no Annual Vehicle Inspection Report yet were not given a reasonable opportunity to locate a copy of the inspection at the time of the inspection.
Â· Any other information that is incorrect which adversely affects your PSP Report.
What should drivers do to validate the information contained on their PSP Report?
Â· Obtain copies of the last three years of your roadside inspections for all Carriers you have operated for. You know you have copies of these somewhere! From here on out, save copies of each and every roadside inspection you have. Retain these records for three years, regardless of the Carrier you are working for. Remember these records apply to you the individual driver.
Â· Get copies of any crash reports for accidents you’ve been involved in for the past five years.
Â· Once you have gathered copies of your roadside inspections and crash reports, order a copy of your PSP report. You can register on the site and obtain the report for $10 at https://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov/psp/oa/AppInfo.aspx
Â· Print the PSP report when completed and compare the information on the report to your inspections and crash reports.
Â· If discrepancies exist, submit a Request for Data Review (RDR) to DataQ’s. Carefully choose items to contest. Excessive squeaking does not get the wheel greased when dealing with the government. Keep in mind that every RDR is reviewed by a human being, not a computer. Be very thorough yet concise when writing your request. Be aware that there is no formal appeals process should your challenge be rejected. Use supporting documentation to prove your information as factual. The site allows you to upload documentation. Make future challenges as quickly as you can after receiving a questionable violation. Be sure to make clear when inputting your RDR that you are contesting a specific violation, crash or inspection and be accurate with the report number that contains the alleged error. Ask your Carrier’s Safety Department personnel for assistance if needed.
Â· To access DataQ’s log on to https://dataqs.fmcsa.dot.gov/Default.aspx
Â· Use the DataQ’s site to track the progress of your RDR.
Things drivers can do to thrive within the newer regulatory environment:
Â· Photograph any mechanical defects discovered during a roadside inspection. If you interpret the regulations differently than the inspector, ask the inspector to point to the defect and photograph the inspector pointing to the defect in question. Take several photos of the defect in question from different angles.
Â· Be professional.
Â· Keep required documents organized, current and at your fingertips. Maintain your permit book with only current permits in an organized fashion. Discard expired items.
Â· Do thorough Pre-trip inspections. Repair any defect prior to moving your vehicle.Â· Use the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria Book to assist in preparing RDR’s involving mechanical defects. This book is produced by CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance). There is a good chance that the Safety Department at your Carrier will have a copy that you could use. The book is also available from CVSA at: http://cvsa.stores.yahoo.net/noamstoucr.html
Â· Attend the some of the Safety related workshops at the Expedite Expo in Wilmington, Ohio July 26 and 27th, 2013 to gain additional insight.
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
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Till the next blog, Thank you drivers for all you do!. Please be safe!
John Mueller, CDS