GAO Urges More Carrier Review
The Government Accountability Office has released a report recommending increased scrutiny of public motor carriers transporting security sensitive loads for the Department of Defense. The report is a response to a requirement by the House of Representatives, which requested information regarding the safety performance and standards of carriers working under the Transportation Protective Service program.
In the past, the DOD has used a combination of its own review process and Safety Measurement System scores to qualify carriers for the TPS program. In 2014, however, GAO called the validity of SMS scores into question and at the same time noted that the DOD review process did not take into account pertinent safety data.
In this report, GAO confirms that DOD does not make full use of the information available.
“DOD collects incident data involving TPS carriers of security sensitive materials but does not evaluate the data to determine whether systemic trends and patterns are linked to safety risks and does not fully investigate incidents to determine root causes,” said the GAO.
For instance, DOD does not analyze incidents involving mechanical breakdown during which loads are exposed to the public for increased periods of time, nor does it investigate all instances in which there is a fire.
Based on its findings, GAO made two recommendations. First, it recommended that DOD establish an approach for reviewing all relative safety violation data when reviewing TPS carriers. Second, it recommended that DOD develop guidance on analyzing incident trends and conducting full incident investigations. The DOD agreed to the recommendations involving analyzing and investigating incidents but stated that it cannot review all safety violations data because it does not own the data in question. DOD also claimed the available data do not distinguish TPS from non-TPS shipments.