The General Accounting Office conducted a study to determine whether (1) key initiatives to improve longstanding hazardous materials (HAZMAT) information shortcomings were successful, and (2) any strategy guides the Department of Transportation (DOT) in directing the information management and technology resources devoted to its HAZMAT mission. Briefly, GAO found the following: As the DOT focal point for HAZMAT regulation, the Research and Special Programs Administration (RSPA) must have reliable information to assess safety regulations covering the hundreds of thousands of HAZMAT shippers, carriers, and container manufacturers. However, the DOT lacks accurate, complete data to monitor this vast community. DOT's progress in improving this situation has been slow; two initiatives to improve Departmentwide HAZMAT information management of inspection and enforcement activities have floundered. As a result, DOT is unable to use information effectively to evaluate improvements in safety accruing from its inspection and enforcement activities or support Department wide HAZMAT enforcement activities. Information resources management strategies are designed to identify ways in which information and technology can be used effectively to support mission needs and are thus very useful in addressing the type of HAZMAT information problems DOT is experiencing. However, because DOT has no directives outlining Departmentwide HAZMAT information management responsibilities, neither RSPA's Office of Information Resources nor DOT's Office of Information Resources Management conducts strategic information resources planning for HAZMAT. Without such a strategy, DOT faces difficulties in applying information technology Departmentwide and in resolving longstanding information shortcomings.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Report to the Chair, Subcommittee on Government Activities and Transportation, Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives.
  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. General Accounting Office

    441 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20548
  • Publication Date: 1991-9

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures;
  • Pagination: 18 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00616482
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/IMTEC-91-50
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 31 1992 12:00AM