In a report adopted Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) fails to ensure the operational safety and management oversight of new entrant motor carriers.
The report recommended that the FMCSA require new carriers to demonstrate their safety fitness prior to beginning operations and revise their safety fitness rating system to better identify potential safety issues for new carriers.
The recommendations are included in the Safety Board's report on a June 2002 collision that occurred near Loraine, Texas, between a Greyhound bus and a truck semitrailer operated by DelCar Trucking. Three people were killed and twenty-nine others were injured in the accident.
The safety board's investigation revealed that the truck did not have the required reflective taping and the lights on the semitrailer were not working.
Additionally the truck drivers toxicology tests were positive for cocaine and the co-driver, who was required to be in the passenger seat while the driver in training was operating the vehicle, was in the sleeper berth.
The report noted DelCar Trucking's failure to exercise adequate operational oversight and the FMCSA's failure to ensure the safety of and provide adequate management for new entrant motor carriers.
The investigation also found that the FMCSA form Safety Certification for Application for U.S. DOT Number does not require applicants to provide detailed information on operations.
It was noted that the FMCSA has no mechanism for verifying the validity of an applicant's information and therefore has no adequate measure of a motor carrier's safety fitness at the time of application.
Additionally, current FMCSA procedures to conduct safety audits on new entrant motor carriers up to 18 months after carriers begin operation potentially allows unsafe carriers to operate without oversight for over a year.
A synopsis of Loraine, Texas accident investigation report, including findings, probable cause, and safety recommendations can be found on the publications page of the NTSB's web site, www.ntsb.gov