Commercial Truck Safety Report

Highway crashes involving large commercial trucks and buses are a nationwide problem.  In 2009, over 3,600 persons in this country died as a result of crashes involving commercial trucks.  Until recently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its state partners tracked the safety of motor carriers by conducting record audits of a small percentage of carriers.  In 2004, the FMSCSA began its compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) program.  This pilot program is intended to identify and evaluate carriers and drivers posing high safety risks.  The FMSCA focuses on three key CSA program oversight activities to evaluate carriers.

The FMSCA expected to install the CSA program by late 2010.  One of the main tools the FMSCA will use to evaluate carriers and drivers is the new Safety Measurement System (SMS) which will use more roadside inspections and other data to identify and suspend  at-risk carriers and drivers.

Almost a year after the anticipated completion date, the GAO report found the new safety measurement system (SMS) program still cannot be used to remove unsafe carriers from the road because the program has not completed the rule-making needed to do so.  Furthermore, the report found that the other safety measure intended to be implemented could not be used because the technology needed to implement the program will not be completed until 2012.

Because the FMCSA has not provided comprehensive information to Congress,   the federal government can say it lacks the information needed to make decisions based upon the FMCSA pilot program initiated back in 2004. To read the full GAO report, go to

Boyd B. Newton is an experienced commercial truck wreck attorney in the Atlanta area.  For more information, please visit