Skip to Highlights
Highlights

In 2004, over 5,000 people died on our nation's roads in crashes involving large trucks. The Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) operates truck safety programs, including Share the Road Safely (STRS), which has a goal to improve driving behavior around large trucks. At congressional direction, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) assumed responsibility for funding STRS in 2004, but returned STRS to FMCSA in 2006. The current transportation authorization bill requested GAO to update its 2003 evaluation of STRS. This report (1) describes the STRS initiatives DOT has implemented since 2003 and their design, (2) reviews evaluations of STRS initiatives, and (3) assesses DOT's plans for the future of STRS. GAO interviewed DOT and state officials, and reviewed program plans and evaluations.

Skip to Recommendations

Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation To ensure that the Share the Road Safely program continues to improve driver behavior around commercial vehicles, thereby potentially reducing fatalities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrators of the appropriate agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy describing how FMCSA will implement and fund an expansion of TACT-like initiatives from several pilots into a nationwide program and detail how STRS initiatives contribute to this goal.
Closed - Not Implemented
FMCSA had plans to expand its Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks(TACT)-like initiative to a couple of states this year. However, its web site indicates the Share the Road Safely Program is being developed. We are following up with agency officials to determine the status of the expansion of its TACT-like initiatives under the Share the Road Safely program. In September 2008, FMCSA officials stated that they are still addressing this recommendation and will update GAO on the status this Fall. August 2010. We are waiting for FMCSA officials to send information regarding status of open recommendations. In November 2014, FMCA officials informed us that it incorporated high visibility traffic enforcement and public education and outreach as essential components of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Basic (formula) funding and High Priority (discretionary) grant programs. As a result of these activities becoming standard components of State enforcement efforts, FMCSA no longer maintains the TACT program as a standalone initiative. Consequently, FMCA has not implemented GAO's recommendation to develop a standalone program solely for addressing aggressive driving into a nationwide program.
Department of Transportation To ensure that the Share the Road Safely program continues to improve driver behavior around commercial vehicles, thereby potentially reducing fatalities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrators of the appropriate agencies to complete and execute plans to evaluate STRS outreach activities that are purely educational and discontinue activities with no demonstrable impact on behavior.
Closed - Not Implemented
FMCSA officials stated they had plans to increase the use of enforcement with education. However, FMCSA's budget and planning documents do not show the link between its education and enforcement activities. We are working with agency officials to obtain further documentation of the agency's activities in this area. In September 2008, FMCSA officials stated that they are still addressing this recommendation and will update GAO on the status this Fall. August 2010. We are waiting for FMCSA officials to send information regarding status of open recommendations.In November 2014, FMCA officials informed us that it incorporated high visibility traffic enforcement and public education and outreach as essential components of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Basic (formula) funding and High Priority (discretionary) grant programs. As a result of these activities becoming standard components of State enforcement efforts, FMCSA no longer maintains the TACT program as a standalone initiative. Consequently, GAO is not able to determine if FMCSA has adopted a program to curb aggressive driving that includes activities that incororate activities that are purely educational and thus may not demonstrate any impact on behavior.
Department of Transportation To ensure that the Share the Road Safely program continues to improve driver behavior around commercial vehicles, thereby potentially reducing fatalities, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrators of the appropriate agencies to monitor whether FMCSA has sufficient staff and expertise to successfully develop and administer future high-visibility law enforcement campaigns, and, if it does not, determine the best methods for DOT to use its resources and expertise to modify driver behavior and address the problem of aggressive driving around trucks.
Closed - Not Implemented
Agency officials are working to supply information on the staff supporting its Share the Road Safely Activities. In September 2008, FMCSA officials stated that they are still addressing this recommendation and will update GAO on the status this Fall. August 2010. We are waiting for FMCSA officials to send information regarding status of open recommendations.In November 2014, FMCA officials informed us that it incorporated high visibility traffic enforcement and public education and outreach as essential components of the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program Basic (formula) funding and High Priority (discretionary) grant programs. As a result of these activities becoming standard components of State enforcement efforts, FMCSA no longer maintains the TACT program as a standalone initiative. Consequently, GAO cannot determine whether FMCA has examined whether it has sufficient staff and expertise to successfully develop and administer future campaigns, particularly for aggressive driving around large trucks.

Full Report