[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today asked the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) to audit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s investigative practices.  A Chicago Tribune report found a troubling example of FMCSA ordering, but never actually launching, an investigation into an Illinois motor carrier with a long history of violating safety rules.

 

“The January crash in Illinois took the life of a tollway worker and severely injured a State Police Trooper.  These two courageous public servants were stopped on the side of the road assisting a driver and his broken down truck when the accident occurred.   We owe it to the families of these men to fully review the investigative practices of FMCSA to ensure we are not missing opportunities to take dangerous drivers or motor carriers off the road before it is too late.”

 

Following a January crash that killed an Illinois Tollway worker and seriously injured an Illinois State Police trooper, Durbin called on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to “immediately and fully” investigate Monday’s deadly tollway crash on I-88 in Aurora, Illinois. According to news reports and DuPage prosecutors, the driver in the crash had been on the road for more than 30 hours with little to no sleep, in violation of federal law.  On April 2, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered DND International to immediately shut down after investigators found the carrier had committed widespread, serious violations of federal regulations that protect the safety of the motoring public. 

 

Text of today’s letter is below:

 

April 9, 2014

 

Calvin L. Scovel III

Inspector General

U.S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave. S.E.

7th Floor

Washington, DC 20590

 

Dear Mr. Scovel:

 

I am writing to request an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) investigative practices.  A Chicago Tribune report found a troubling example of FMCSA ordering, but never actually launching, an investigation into an Illinois motor carrier with a long history of violating safety rules.  FMCSA ordered an investigation of DND International in August of 2013.  However, FMCSA did not start the investigation until after a DND driver was involved in a fatal crash in January on I-88 in Aurora, Illinois.  Earlier intervention and follow-through by FMCSA could have avoided this tragedy and we need a hard look into whether FMCSA is taking the proper steps to keep these accidents waiting to happen off the road.

 

The Inspector General should review FMCSA’s practices to ensure motor carriers flagged for investigation are being investigated in a timely manner.   FMCSA should not wait until a crash occurs before following through on investigations they order.  Secondly, the Inspector General should review whether or not the type of investigations FMCSA conducts are adequate enough to catch violations.  In November of 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found FMCSA’s increased use of “focused reviews” limited to specific areas of compliance may be inappropriate for carriers with a history of violations in several areas, like DND appeared to have.

 

The January crash in Illinois took the life of a tollway worker and severely injured a State Police Trooper.  These two courageous public servants were stopped on the side of the road assisting a driver and his broken down truck when the accident occurred.   We owe it to the families of these men to fully review the investigative practices of FMCSA to ensure we are not missing opportunities to take dangerous drivers or motor carriers off the road before it is too late.

 

Thank you for your attention to this request.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Richard J. Durbin

U.S. Senator

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