DOT to audit FMCSA’s investigation process

Last January’s accident that is at the center of the DOT’s audit of FMCSA’s investigation procedures

A truck accident last January that killed one man and injured an Illinois State Trooper has led the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Inspector General to begin an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) investigation process under its Compliance, Safety and Accountability program.

In  a letter addressed to the FMCSA Administrator, DOT’s Assistant Inspector General for Surface Transportation Audits Mitchell Behm wrote:

“In 2014, a motor carrier with a history of violations was involved in a fatal crash in Illinois. The motor carrier had been flagged as high-risk in FMCSA’s system, but an investigation was not conducted. Following the 2014 crash, Senator Dick Durbin requested that we audit FMCSA’s investigative practices for high-risk motor carriers. Subsequently, the 2015 appropriations legislation directed us to review FMCSA’s compliance review process. Accordingly, our audit objective is to assess FMCSA’s processes for ensuring that reviews of motor carriers flagged for investigation are timely and adequate.”

Sen. Durbin (D-Illinois) said he called for the review of FMCSA’s investigation process after reading a newspaper report about the safety record of DND International, the trucking company involved in the Jan. 27 crash on I-88 in Aurora, Ill. In April, FMCSA ordered the company shut down.

A statement issued Tuesday by Durbin said that on April 9 the senator asked DOT’s Inspector General to audit the FMCSA’s investigative practices.  Last June, Durbin included a provision in a bill to fund the DOT in Fiscal Year 2015 that directed such an audit. It also  directed the Inspector General to recommend ways FMCSA not miss opportunities to take dangerous drivers or companies off the road.

Reports of the accident say DND International’s driver Renato Velasquez violated federal hours-of-service regulations and falsified his logbook at the time of the crash. They also show DND International had a history of safety violations.