Senator Puts another Hole in the CSA Initiative

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) CSA initiative took another direct hit this week, as the Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General’s (IG) Office began a full audit of the Agency’s investigate practices for high-risk carriers.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) initiated the audit in direct response to a fatal motor carrier crash in 2014 in the State of Illinois. Specifically, a motor carrier known to FMCSA as a “high-risk” carrier was involved in the fatal accident and despite the carrier’s known status as a high-risk carrier, FMCSA did not conduct an investigation.

FMCSA identifies high risk motor carriers for intervention such as targeted roadside inspections and compliance reviews. However, high profile crashes have raised concerns about the timeliness and effectiveness of FMSCA’s reviews of these carriers. In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated four carriers involved in crashes that collectively resulted in 25 fatalities and 83 injuries. These investigations revealed that FMCSA conducted safety reviews of the carriers prior to their crashes—one only five days before—but did not uncover certain pre-existing safety deficiencies or act on others until after the crashes.

Additionally, the language inserted by Senator Durbin into the 2015 Appropriations bill directed the DOT IG to review FMCSA’s compliance review process. Their audit objective is to assess FMCSA’s processes for ensuring that reviews of motor carriers flagged for investigation are timely and adequate.

If you have any questions, contact Chris Burroughs (, 703.299.5705).