According to an Associated Press report by Hope Yen, a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that as many as 1,073 commercial trucking companies are operating in the U.S. under different names after investigators shut them down due to violations.
“These companies pose a safety threat to the motoring public,” wrote Greg Kutz, GAO’s managing director for special investigations. “We believe that these carriers reincarnated into new companies to evade fines and avoid performing the necessary corrective actions.”
It’s bad enough that companies would do this, putting at risk lives. But, according to the article, the GAO said the FMCSA doesn’t have the computer capabilities to track these companies effectively and it is not clear who has jurisdiction to enforce the laws – FMCSA or states.
While acknowledging it is difficult to track down offenders – if it wasn’t, then companies would not continue operating – the lack of proper resources or clarification of law is inexcusable. These are simple fixes that should be done.
Rep. James Oberstar, D-MN, and chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, is pushing the reauthorization of the highway bill. While the administration is pushing an 18-month “patch” until time is available put together what it calls a proper approach to transportation.
Either way, Oberstar has proposed new rules that would provide FMCSA the power to revoke company licenses and direct the organization to improve its computer systems. That proposal is in the Committee’s reauthorization bill proposal. If the administration eventually chooses the patch and delays the reauthorization bill, then Congress must act on the separate proposals to fix this obvious problem and put FMCSA on the right track.