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24 Hazardous Materials Transportation Incident Data for Root Cause Analysis 3.2 Summary of Responses from Carriers When carriers experience a hazmat accident, all of the details and events of the accident are recorded thoroughly. Several of the responding companies maintain accident databases that con- tain information that is much more extensive than the information that is required by the feder- ally maintained databases. The carriers that attempt to get to root causes of the accident utilize these more extensive data sets. The investigators record environmental factors and long-term qualita- tive data that would be helpful in understanding how the hazmat accident occurred, and in deter- mining how this type of accident may be prevented (if prevention is possible). In some instances, factors such as driver criminal history, crash history, and cell phone usage would have helped deter- mine whether the accident was due to the driver, which, if true, could result in an action taken to discipline or suspend the driver. In one case, corrective action was taken by a company to make the driver more aware of these external factors, enabling the driver to correct for them and thereby pre- vent future accidents. On the other hand, if factors such as existing traffic/weather conditions and functionality of trucking equipment indicate that the fault of the accident was external to the driver, a change in driving procedures might be made. Carriers would also like to see PHMSA play a more active role in communicating with the companies that reported the accident in order to get complete and accurate information. Most of the companies said they would use training offered by PHMSA to better fill out the crash form. More accurate forms will add to a more thorough database. This will help greatly for those that wish to use the database for research in prevention of serious hazmat accidents and mitigating crash impacts. The questionnaire results provided some insights into how carriers think accident causation analysis should be performed. Although carriers conduct their own investigations of major haz- mat accidents and search for the "root causes" of their crashes, they also believe that the author- ities have a responsibility to do the same. Carriers suggested that the following steps should be taken during an investigation: 1. Obtain vehicle operator statements of evidence for the hazmat accident. Carriers think that both they and the authorities should collect as much information as possible in order to identify accident causation. This includes collecting witness state- ments, consulting police reports, and reviewing the driver's log history, license records, and records of violations. Determining when the driver last rested would be especially valuable. The driver's cell phone use and satellite tracking records should be accessed to collect addi- tional information. Driver's actions should be compiled in order to look for causal events. Several carriers believe that assigning fault for a crash to a particular driver would be ben- eficial in that often the truck driver is not responsible for causing a crash. A large water-based carrier contacted by the research team investigates accidents and requires the pilot (or tanker man) to complete a special investigations form they have devised to obtain information that could lead to the identification of the root cause for the accident under investigation. Employees receive training in the proper procedure for completing this form. 2. Search for defects in the vehicle. As part of this effort, vehicle equipment (such as brakes) should be examined during a post- crash inspection. Pertinent maintenance records should be reviewed for any insights into the cause of the crash. 3. Examine vehicle operator history in order to identify health problems that could have con- tributed to the accident.