New Audit Announcements

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Audit Announced of Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Inspections, Accident Reporting, and Investigations

At the request of Representative James L. Oberstar, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Representative Corrine Brown, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Subcommittee on Railroads; and Senator Ernest F. Hollings, Ranking Democratic Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation; we are initiating an audit of highway-rail grade crossing inspections, accident reporting, and investigations. The focus of this audit will differ significantly from the grade crossing safety report we issued on June 16, 2004. Our recent report focused on the Department of Transportation’s progress in implementing its Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Action Plan (Report No. MH-2004-065), highlighting accident trends for targeting future grade crossing improvements. We also reported on how states have used Federal safety funds to close or equip crossings with automatic warning devices, such as flashing lights and gates. Our new audit planned for August 2004 will address safety issues identified by the New York Times July 11 and July 12, 2004 articles and focus on the laws and regulations governing grade crossing safety inspections, accident reporting requirements, and accident investigation procedures. Our specific objectives will be to assess the adequacy of FRA’s oversight of highway-rail grade crossing inspections, accident reporting, and accident investigations. Since the audit work will address many issues, as shown in the attached congressional request letter, we plan to issue a series of reports to expedite communication of our audit results.