In an unusual move, the National Transportation Safety Board last week pointed a finger at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's oversight processes in regards to several deadly crashes that the NTSB investigated this year, and called for audits of the governmental agency saying "their findings from these investigations raise serious questions about the oversight of motor carrier operations."
The NTSB's actions stem from four recent commercial vehicle accidents that together resulted in 25 deaths and 83 injuries. In each accident, investigators identified safety deficiencies and noted red flags that had been present prior to the crashes, but were unnoticed or were not acted upon by FMCSA regulators until after the crashes.
"While FMCSA deserves recognition for putting bad operators out of business, they need to crack down before crashes occur, not just after high visibility events," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman in the release. "Our investigators found, that in many cases, the poor performing company was on FMCSA's radar for violations, but was allowed to continue operating and was not scrutinized closely until they had deadly crashes."
The NTSB found concerns with both the thoroughness and quality of FMCSA's compliance reviews and their increasing reliance on focused compliance reviews, which examine only a limited portion of the commercial operation. Consequently, the NTSB is issuing two safety recommendations to the Department of Transportation calling on it to conduct audits on these oversight activities and to address any problems uncovered by the audits. To read more, click HERE.