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    Subject Term: "Highway safety"

    13 publications with a total of 25 open recommendations
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better position DOT and FHWA to effectively guide the transformation of federal surface transportation programs to a more performance-oriented approach, and to help states and MPOs overcome anticipated challenges, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to take the following two actions: 1. Develop a formal TPM implementation plan to include overarching implementation goals, specific actions FHWA plans to take to help states and MPOs successfully implement TPM, and corresponding timelines. 2. Publicly communicate this plan and approach to build a shared understanding of the goals and purpose of the transformation with its grantees.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To determine whether CSA interventions influence motor carrier safety performance, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to identify and implement, as appropriate, methods to evaluate the effectiveness of individual intervention types or common intervention patterns to obtain more complete, appropriate, and accurate information on the effectiveness of interventions in improving motor carrier safety performance. In identifying and implementing appropriate methods, FMCSA should incorporate accepted practices for designing program effectiveness evaluations, including practices that would enable FMCSA to more confidently attribute changes in carriers' safety behavior to CSA interventions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To understand the efficiency of CSA interventions the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to update FMCSA's cost estimates to determine the resources currently used to conduct individual intervention types and ensure FMCSA has cost information that is representative of all states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enable FMCSA management to monitor the agency's progress in achieving its effectiveness and efficiency outcomes for CSA interventions and balance priorities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to establish and use performance measures to regularly monitor progress toward both FMCSA's effectiveness outcome and its efficiency outcome.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to direct FHWA's division offices to help ensure, through their oversight of states' standards and design specifications, that states have written policies in place to require the installation of appropriately crash-tested roadside safety hardware on the National Highway System to address inconsistent practices across states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA will review existing state policies and procedures regarding the installation of appropriately crash-tested roadside safety hardware on the National Highway System and complete this review by July 2017. Based on these findings, DOT stated that FHWA will, by December 2017, direct its division offices to work with state Departments of Transportation to modify or improve state DOT written policies as appropriate.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to monitor and periodically report to Congress (or report through the agency's publicly available website) progress states and the industry are making in transitioning to the MASH crash-testing standards for roadside safety hardware.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated FHWA will collect information on states' progress in implementing a policy to use MASH-tested hardware and post this information on FHWA's website. DOT also stated that FHWA will coordinate with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to monitor the progress of the MASH transition and to have this monitoring process in place by July 2017.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to provide additional guidance to crash test labs and accreditation bodies to ensure that labs have a clear separation between device development and testing in cases where lab employees test devices that were developed within their parent organization.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA will conduct outreach to determine how conflicts of interest are viewed and addressed by labs and by the accrediting bodies. FHWA will also determine how to most effectively provide any additional guidance on mitigating potential these conflicts within its current legal authority. DOT stated FHWA will complete this outreach by June 2017 and issue additional guidance communicating FHWA's expectations by December 2017.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to develop a process for third-party verification of results from crash-test labs.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA will conduct outreach to identify potential processes for third party review of results from crash labs. DOT stated FHWA will complete this outreach by July 2017.
    Recommendation: To promote the transition to improved crash test standards, to strengthen FHWA's oversight of the roadside safety hardware's crash-testing process, and to make more information available to states and industry on how roadside safety hardware performs in actual conditions, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FHWA to support additional research and disseminate results on roadside safety hardware's in-service performance, either as part of future phases of FHWA's current pilot study on guardrail end terminals' performance or as part of FHWA's broader research portfolio.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation and stated that FHWA is conducting a pilot effort to establish a protocol for the collection of data from crashes involving guardrail terminals, and that this pilot will be completed by November 2018. In addition, DOT stated that FHWA continues to support additional research through the National Research Council and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve stewardship over the nation's highways and bridges, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to conduct a study on state oversize- and overweight-permitting practices, including automated vehicle routing and escort driver certification, to identify areas of best practice and share the results with states.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) concurred with this recommendation. According to an FHWA letter, they will conduct a review of permitting practices, which will include findings from several recent and ongoing research projects related to oversize and overweight permitting. FHWA plans to complete this review by September 30, 2017, and share the results with states through peer exchanges and forums.
    Director: Susan Fleming,
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of NHTSA to identify actions--in addition to the agency's currently planned efforts--to support state efforts to increase public awareness of the dangers of drug-impaired driving. This effort should be undertaken in consultation with ONDCP, HHS, state highway-safety offices, and other interested parties as needed.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: NHTSA met with ONDCP, HHS, and GHSA in March 2016 and discussed what consumer research has been done and education materials have been used in raising awareness for the drug-impaired driving issue. NHTSA completed marijuana creative concept focus group market research in the Fall of 2016; however, the findings from this research were inconclusive. NHTSA plans to determine next steps and develop a new strategy in communicating on this challenging topic by Spring 2017. NHTSA anticipates conducting additional market research that will provide the direction for the development of creative materials by Fall 2017.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness, Congress should consider transferring the oversight of the markings of toy and imitation firearms in 15 U.S.C. 5001 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (within the Department of Commerce) to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. The Gun Look-Alike Case Act, H.R. 3224, which was introduced on July 27, 2015, in the 114th Congress, would transfer the authority to regulate the markings of toy, look-alike, and imitation firearms in section 5001 of title 15 of the U.S. Code from NIST to CPSC, as GAO suggested in November 2014. This bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the United States House of Representatives, and did not pass out of committee. As of March 1, 2017, the bill has not been reintroduced in the 115th Congress.
    Recommendation: To improve existing coordination of oversight for consumer product safety, Congress should consider establishing a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism for consumer product safety agencies to address crosscutting issues as well as inefficiencies related to fragmentation and overlap such as communication and coordination challenges and jurisdictional questions between agencies. Different types of formal mechanisms could include, for example, creating a memorandum of understanding to formalize relationships and agreements or establishing a task force or interagency work group. As a starting point, Congress may wish to obtain agency input on options for establishing more formal coordination.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: This matter is an action identified in GAO's annual Duplication and Cost Savings reports. There has been no legislative action identified. No legislation was introduced as of March 1, 2017, that would establish a collaborative mechanism to facilitate communication across the relevant agencies and to help enable them to collectively address crosscutting issues, as GAO suggested in November 2014. Some of the agencies with direct regulatory oversight responsibilities for consumer product safety reported that they continue to collaborate to address specific consumer product safety topics. However, without a formal comprehensive oversight mechanism, the agencies risk missing opportunities to better leverage resources and address challenges, including those related to fragmentation and overlap.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency and provide Congress and the public greater visibility into the types of highway activities funded with Highway Trust Fund monies, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore the costs, feasibility, and options for collecting and publicly reporting consistent aggregate project-level spending data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHWA agreed with the recommendation and stated that it was reviewing the feasibility and options for collecting and reporting aggregate project-level highway spending data, and that it intended to complete this review by December 2015. In December 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act". Sec. 1402 of the Act requires DOT to annually report, for all projects administered by FHWA with a total estimated cost of $25 million or more (and for all other projects to the extent practicable), on the total cost of funded projects, the amount of federal funds obligated, and other information, and to make this information "available in a user-friendly manner on the public Internet website of the Department of Transportation." GAO is monitoring DOT's efforts to implement this provision of the Act and the extent to which it fulfills GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to provide states with greater flexibility to pursue a range of strategies to address the various factors contributing to motorcycle crashes and fatalities, Congress should consider allowing states to use the Motorcyclist Safety Grants for purposes beyond motorcyclist training and raising motorist awareness of motorcycles.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No action has been taken on this matter to date. When GAO determines that Congress has taken action on it, GAO will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide the states with information that could better enable them to effectively address the factors that contribute to motorcycle crashes and fatalities, NHTSA should (1) as part of its expected comprehensive plan for motorcycle safety, identify research priorities that address these factors as well as gaps in knowledge about the effectiveness of state strategies, particularly those that it has identified as a high priority or promising. (2) in addition to setting these research priorities, conduct research on the following strategies that it has identified as a high priority or promising: (a) encouraging motorcyclists to increase their conspicuity, and (b) implementing a graduated-licensing model for motorcyclists.

    Agency: Department of Transportation: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurs with our recommendation. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to focus its motorcycle research program on issues that offer the greatest potential for safety improvement and will use research priorities identified in its upcoming Motorcycle Safety Program Plan to guide future research investments. In July 2014, NHTSA provided an update indicating that they planned to complete their Motorcycle Safety Program Plan by April 2015. They also indicated that they had not begun research on rider conspicuity or graduated licensing for motorcyclists. In August 2015, NHTSA provided additional information indicating that it had revised timeframes for developing its Motorcycle Safety Program Plan to Spring 2016. NHTSA also indicated that it plans to conduct research on encouraging motorcycle conspicuity as well as on graduated-licensing and expects to complete this additional research in 2016. In May 2016, NHTSA informed GAO that it had completed a draft of its Motorcycle Safety Program Plan and that it anticipated making the plan available by the end of 2016. NHTSA also indicated that it has extended its timeframe for completing a literature review that includes motorcycle conspicuity and licensing; it now anticipates completing that review in March, 2017. Additionally, NHTSA plans to begin a new research project in 2016 that will focus on identifying potential barriers to increasing motorcycle conspicuity.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to encourage vehicle owners to comply with safety recalls, provide vehicle owners with specific information about whether their vehicle is involved in a recall, and identify factors that affect recall completion rates, among other things, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of NHTSA to develop a plan to use the data it collects on recall campaigns to analyze particular patterns or trends that may characterize successful recalls and determine whether these represent best practices that could be used in other recall campaigns.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions NHTSA has taken in response to this recommendation will provide updated information.
    Director: Kingsbury, Nancy R
    Phone: (202)512-6570

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the information available to the Congress for reauthorization, the Secretary of Transportation should analyze and report on trends currently anticipated to affect highway safety through 2020 and beyond in a systematic fashion--including information on high-clockspeed trends, discussion of evidence about these and other individual trends, their implications and potential interactions, and DOT responses.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT has not responded to this recommendation, but DOT announced a distracted driving summit September 30-October 1, 2009, with a limited number of invitees, and invited the GAO Assistant Director on this report to participate. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that the purpose of the summit is to "to address the dangers of text-messaging and other distractions behind the wheel." The summit will include "senior transportation officials, elected officials, safety advocates, law enforcement representatives and academics" who will convene in Washington, DC "to discuss ideas about how to combat distracted driving."
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should evaluate whether or not new approaches to data collection are needed to better track new trends related to highway safety.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT has not responded to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to develop an approach to decision making and the development of evidence on high-clockspeed trends affecting highway safety that are characterized by uncertainty, the Secretary of Transportation should consider and evaluate practices and principles for making decisions under conditions of uncertainty and for using data in such decision making and, on that basis, develop an approach to guide decision making on high-clockspeed trends that, although somewhat uncertain, may affect highway safety.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In GAO-09-56, GAO recommended the Secretary of Transportation consider and evaluate practices and principles for making conditions under uncertainty and for using data in light of issues encountered in developing evidence on high-clockspeed trends affecting highway safety that are characterized by uncertainty. GAO had studied driver distraction involving electronic devices, in particular cell phones with texting capability and identified these evolving electronic devices as a high clockspeed trend. DOT reports several actions on distracted driving, specifically: (1) an Executive Order to federal employees not to engage in text messaging while driving government-owned vehicles; when using electronic equipment supplied by the government while driving; or while driving privately owned vehicles when they are on official business; (2) the Secretary called on state and local governments to (a) make distracted driving part of their state highway plans, (b) pass state and local laws against distracted driving in all types of vehicles, (c) back up public awareness campaigns with high-visibility enforcement actions; (3) the Secretary directed the Department to establish an on-line clearinghouse on the risks of distracted driving and also (4) pledged to continue the Department's research on how to best combat distracted driving. DOT also notes that the Department's www.distraction.gov website provides information on the latest data on distracted driving and that 34 states have passed laws against texting and driving since the 2009 announcement by the Secretary of DOT.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the information available to the Congress for reauthorization, the Secretary of Transportation should determine, in consultation with relevant congressional committees, schedules for periodic reporting that will be sufficiently frequent to update the Congress on fast-changing trends.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT has not responded to this recommendation.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Taking action to address the challenges FMCSA faces to ensure that its drug testing program detects drivers who are using illegal drugs, and to keep drivers who have tested positive off the road until they have completed the return-to-duty process, provides an opportunity to improve safety on the roads. In order to assist the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA in addressing these challenges, and thereby improving road safety, Congress may wish to consider adopting legislation to ban subversion products.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On February 4, 2009, Representative Engel introduced the Drug Testing Integrity Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives. The Act would ban products designed to defraud drug tests. On February 15, 2011 Representative Engel re-introduced the bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and then to the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Representative Engel re-introduced the bill in the 113th Congress in May of 2013. However, the bill has not been reintroduced since.
    Director: Herr, Phillip R
    Phone: (202)512-8984

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the federal investment in surface transportation, meet the nation's transportation needs, and ensure a sustainable commitment to transportation infrastructure, Congress may wish to consider reexamining and refocusing surface transportation programs to be responsive to these principles so that they institute tools and approaches to that emphasize the return on the federal investment.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet acted on this recommendation. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94), signed into law in December 2015, is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the federal investment in surface transportation, meet the nation's transportation needs, and ensure a sustainable commitment to transportation infrastructure, Congress may wish to consider reexamining and refocusing surface transportation programs to be responsive to these principles so that they address the current imbalance between federal surface transportation revenues and spending.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not yet acted on this recommendation. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act; P.L. 114-94), signed into law in December 2015, did not address the current imbalance between federal surface transportation revenues and spending. The Act is due to be reauthorized in fiscal year 2021.
    Director: Siggerud, Katherine A
    Phone: (202)512-6570

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better demonstrate how FMCSA education and outreach programs contribute to achieving agency goals, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FMCSA to ensure that the agency describes and documents how education and outreach program activities link to and support broader program and agency goals in a planning, program, or budget document that is available to the public.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to GAO's recommendation that the agency describe and document how education and outreach program activities link to and support broader program goals, FMCSA included discussion of how their education and outreach activities supported a number of programs in its FY 2009 performance budget in response to GAO. FMCSA also provided more detailed logic models to GAO on the education and outreach activities that support a number of their programs such as New and Non Entrants, Share the Road Safely and Safety Belt Usage Improvement.