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  • WAIT.USA
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NewsRegulationTrucking

DOT to audit FMCSA oversight of truck driver bans

A fatal crash involving a commercial driver has led to a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) oversight of state driver licensing agencies.

According to the DOT’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) on October 22, the crash, which occurred earlier this year, led to an internal investigation by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) that found the agency “had not systematically processed out-of-state paper notifications of driver convictions” in roughly five years.

The OIG said the investigation also found a software flaw that hindered the state agency’s ability to timely process out-of-state electronic notifications. “Consequently, in summer 2019, RMV issued thousands of [commercial driver license] suspensions, based on previously unprocessed out-of-state notifications,” the OIG stated. “Accordingly, our objective for this self-initiated audit is to assess FMCSA’s oversight of State driver’s licensing agencies’ actions to disqualify commercial drivers when warranted.”

The OIG noted an increasing number of large trucks and buses on the roads. It cited FMCSA data as of June 2019, finding that fatalities in crashes involving large trucks or buses have increased 11.1% in the last five years, from 4,455 in 2013 to 4,949 in 2018.

The audit was announced at the same time the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an oversight report revealing that from 2014 to 2017, states did not achieve fatality-related safety goals set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“While NHTSA has taken steps to improve its review of these reports, officials acknowledged states are not clear on which target years to assess,” the report states. “Further, NHTSA lacks a mechanism to report whether states eventually achieve these targets. As a result, NHTSA and other stakeholders have limited insight into the results states have achieved from their use of federal safety funds.”

GAO recommended NHTSA provide more clarification to ensure states assess and report progress in meeting fatality targets.

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

59 Comments

  1. Incredible. ” There are more trucks and buses in the road, ” so the inadequacies are that the main focus comes down to taking more drivers off the road. That being said, those divers who should have been suspended in the past, should have been suspended. This is a knee jerk response to pressure and does not solve the main issue. This shows the ones calling the shots are not capable of the required thought to fix the issue. They are merely “doing something” to get the heat of their backs.

  2. If you want a reason for truck crashes try looking at new driver age and ELOGS. I’m always having drivers pass me like just sitting there. I even find myself hurrying a little more than I used to.

  3. I do understand what the article is stating. However, FMCSA and DOT must take into consideration that is plausible that the increase of accidents could be also contribut due to ELD implimentation! NOW out of state drivers are driving at one point during hours that their bodies are not used to be driving. Why, long hours of detention on shippers, receivers, appointments, and even traffic on occasion etc. How is this relevant? The majority of the times, there are occasions that drivers start their driving shift (11, 14 Hours a day) afternoon because their apartment or simply when product is ready to get loaded. Unfortunately, the responsibility of the driver is to deliver product on a scheduled time and can’t longer stop to rest because he or she are not going to be able to make their apartment are a likely to be driving tired! CONSEQUENTLY, drivers still have to wake up early to deliver or are asked to move and can not longer rest and now they have to be awake even 5 to 7 hours before they could start driving again. At that point drivers are tired again and have no other option than star driving again and the cycle starts again. There is the need of governmental agencies to continue to monitor to admend all the laws and regulations while at the same time taking into consideration how IN REALITY such laws or regulations are being applied and how they affect ELD. We are not machines. It is not safe to drive when such tell us when to drive. We need to have some sort of control. This is why many drivers continue disconnect their ELDs.

  4. DOT might want conceder it’s decision to up the random drug testing from 25% back to 50% as it was 3 years a go.

  5. This is nothing compared to the dangers of regular CAR Operators…
    With a rise of accidents from 2017 to 2018 of 5.7 million to 6.4 million, an increase of 12.3 percent. Also…now reaching over 40,000 fatalities…. how about you leave truckers alone and focus on the real problem. Oh wait… its all about the money.

  6. This will blow your mind…. i did massibe research and i weote this for you all…

    ATA investigated 8300 car-truck crashes reulting in fatalities…of those, ATA has determined 81% were the car drivers fault.

    cars average 6.7million accidents a year.
    commercial vehicles average 125k accidents
    cars average over 40,000 crash fatalities/yr
    Com.Vs average over 4900 crash fatalities/yr
    15mil commercial vehicles/2mil tractor trailer
    272 million cars…

    2.5% accidents to car ratio
    0.8% accidents to commercial vehicle ratio
    cars are 3x more likely to get into an accident.

    0.6% car fatalities to car accident ratio
    3.9% commercial fatalities to accident ratio
    of that 3.9% of commercial fatalities, car driver are liable for 3.12%…leaving commercial drivers liable for just 0.78%
    of the 4900 Com.Vs fatalities, cars are liable for 3900…and of the total Com.Vs and car accident fatalies combined (44.9k), cars are liable for 43.9k.
    therefore, cars are liable for for 3.72% fatatalies to accident ratio..and…they are liable for 97.8% of ALL fatalities.
    Yet, commercial vehicles and commercial drivers are the ones regulated on a colossal scale. Commercial vehicle operators face daily DOT inspections, daily DOT weigh stations, log books, reduced speed limits, massive restricted parking (when parking is tremendeously scarce), lane restriction,etc. etc. etc.
    So Why is it that if cars are 300% more likely to get into an accident and theyre liable for 97% of all fatalities, that commercial vehicles are the ones tremendously regulated to the point that commercial drivers consider it harassment?
    Perhaps, we should step back from truckers and commercial vehicles…and instead focus time, resources and regulations on passenger cars instead…which is where the real problem (so obviously) lays.
    -Scott Tucker

    SOURCES:

    *(Commercial Vehicle Statistics)
    https://www.dolmanlaw.com/tractor-trailer-accident-statistics/

    *(Commercial Vehicle and Car Statistics)
    https://www.isaacsandisaacs.com/truck-accident-lawyer/big-rig-crash-statistics

    *(Registered cars in U.S.)
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.statista.com/statistics/183505/number-of-vehicles-in-the-united-states-since-1990/&ved=2ahUKEwiJpqqFi7vlAhVDUt8KHRxABfkQFjADegQIDRAN&usg=AOvVaw06-6zzbQprqc9hzGOh36KV

    1. That’s exactly right it seems like the government is giving the general public a free pass, as we are held to the same high standards in our personal vehicles as we are in the commercial one.

  7. Plain and simple, the government said ELD’s would make it safer when we all know it just made a lot of companies and politicians richer. The ELD manufacturers got richer and all the crooked politicians got richer. Most of the pay off money came from giant trucking companies who can’t complete with small carriers who provide a far more better service. Now after a year of ELD’s and an increase in accidents, the government is trying to blame faulty computers and not getting drivers off the road that have multiple in fractions on their license. Like always the government can’t take the blame for something they initiated which has turned out to be making our roads more unsafe. The government needs to man up and admit ELD’s was a bad decision and change the law to where only trucking companies that have bad safety records are required to run them.

    1. Yeah, and take that eye burning, hose dissolving DEF off the fuel pumps too! Oh and make JB Hunt and Swift’s CSA available to see like ours are! Oh because their self insured? Well stop these insurance companies from looking at our CSA and jacking up our rates!

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