COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES: EFFECTIVENESS OF ACTIONS BEING TAKEN TO IMPROVE MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY IS UNKNOWN

The General Accounting Office (GAO) was requested to review efforts being undertaken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reduce the number of truck-related fatalities. Specifically, GAO examined (1) the FMCSA's overall strategy for reducing fatalities resulting from crashes involving large trucks; (2) specific actions the FMCSA is taking to meet this goal; (3) the extent to which the FMCSA has considered additional improvements suggested by the safety community, industry, and others; and (4) the bases for the FMCSA's estimates for the expected number of lives to be saved as a result of proposed revisions to its hours of service rules. Briefly, GAO found the following: The FMCSA strategy, called the Safety Action Plan, covers the years 2000 through 2003 and contains 47 initiatives that are intended to be an initial step in reducing fatalities due to crashes involving large trucks by 50% by 2009. The plan, however, does not articulate how the individual initiatives will contribute to reductions in truck-related fatalities. There has been progress on some of the individual initiatives. The FMCSA sought comments on a draft of its Safety Action Plan from 49 organizations, nine of which provided written comments. Changes were made to address most of the comments. The FMCSA recently published proposed revisions to its regulations that limit the number of hours that drivers of commercial motor vehicles (trucks and buses) are permitted to drive before resting. Under the proposed rule the Department of Transportation estimates that 115 fatigue-related fatalities would be avoided annually. This estimate is based on two primary assumptions: (1) fatigue is either a primary or secondary factor in 15% of fatal large truck crashes and (2) long-haul and regional drivers' use of electronic devices that monitor the number of hours they drive under the proposed rule would result in a 20% decrease in the number of fatigue-related crashes. There is no firm analytic basis for either assumption because of lack of well-defined data on crash causation. Professional judgment was used to arrive at these assumptions.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 23 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00798829
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-00-189,, HS-043 121,, B-284418
  • Files: HSL, NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 31 2000 12:00AM