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Audit Initiated of FMCSA's Investigative Practices for High Risk Carriers

Requested by Senator Dick Durbin and Required by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations of 2015
Project ID: 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability program identifies high risk motor carriers for intervention such as targeted roadside inspections and compliance reviews. However, high profile crashes have raised concerns about the timeliness and effectiveness of FMSCA’s reviews of these carriers. In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated 4 carriers involved in crashes that collectively resulted in 25 fatalities and 83 injuries. These investigations revealed that FMCSA conducted safety reviews of the carriers prior to their crashes—1 only 5 days before—but did not uncover certain pre-existing safety deficiencies or act on others until after the crashes.

In 2014, a motor carrier known to FMCSA as high-risk was involved in a fatal crash in Illinois. Despite the carrier’s risk status, FMSCA did not conduct an investigation. Following this crash, Senator Dick Durbin requested that we audit FMCSA’s investigative practices for high-risk motor carriers. The 2015 appropriations legislation also directed us to review FMCSA’s compliance review process. Accordingly, we are initiating this audit. Our audit objective is to assess FMCSA’s processes for ensuring that reviews of motor carriers flagged for investigation are timely and adequate.