PROTECTING THE INTEGRITY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION'S TRUCK SAFETY AUDITS

This report deals with Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety policies and procedures in conducting internal reviews of agency enforcement activities, and in responding to citizen complaints. These areas are extremely important to the maintenance of a credible and effective enforcement program at the federal level. Little attention appears to have been given to basic internal controls, which are vital to assure the confidence of the public at large and the trucking industry. The report concludes: 1. The BMCS policy on maintaining the confidentiality of the complaints made to the Bureau is too vague. Complaints must be given adequate assurances that their identity cannot be traced by the audit trail of carriers. 2. Complaints received by the bureau which are specific and substantive do not always appear to be addressed in BMCS investigations. No official guidelines exist for safety investigators in this important area. 3. The BMCS needs an established policy and program to address questioned audits and investigations. No procedure specifies what is to take place when the accuracy of investigations or audits is challenged. Consequently, any reaction on the part of supervisors appears arbitrary. 4. The Bureau does not have a mechanism in place to check the quality and accuracy of its auditors' findings and investigations. 5. Specific authority for responding to questioned audits and investigations should be established. Further, the report recommends: 1. BMCS should specifically state in its agents' operations manual that complaints should be considered confidential. 2. The Bureau ought to require methods by which safety investigator can mask the intended target areas of their carrier investigations and audits. 3. Investigations done as a result of detailed citizen complaints must list the allegations from the complaints and the findings of the auditors. 4. A standardized, on-going internal program for authenticating audits and investigations would help professionalize the Bureau's enforcement. 5. Officers-In-Charge and Division and Regional officers ought to be given specific, comprehensive, and established procedures for reacting to questioned audits, investigations or other activities of auditors. For example, a procedure whereby a second inspection is used to verify the questioned reports would be helpful. 6. Responsibility for the quality of all Bureau safety examinations should be clearly delineated among the various levels of authority; FHWA, BMCS, divisions, regions, and headquarters. (Author)

  • Corporate Authors:

    United States House of Representatives

    Committee on Government Operations
    Washington, DC  United States  20515
  • Publication Date: 1984-10

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures;
  • Pagination: 25 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00390394
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: House Rpt. 98-1113
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 30 1984 12:00AM