U.S. General Accounting Office says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration's Share the Road Safely program needs sharper evaluation
tools so its effectiveness can accurately be gauged.
program was established in 1994 and currently consists of many pilot
projects designed to contribute to FMCSA's goal of reducing the
fatality rate associated with large commercial vehicles. The program
publicizes to the general public the dangers of driving unsafely
around large trucks.
GAO said in a May 2003 "Truck Safety" report that "the
linkage between the program goal and a few other initiatives, such
as providing the Share the Road Safely message to schoolchildren,
is not as clear and direct (as other education programs).
found that in some cases (the program's) link to its goal of educating
the public about driving safely around large commercial vehicles
was tenuous," the report said. "In addition, FMCSA has
not evaluated the effectiveness of Share the Road Safely since 2000
… It is important that FMCSA incorporate the best evaluation practices
that are available from federal and other sources to the extent
practicable to ensure the agency does not expend its limited resources
on initiatives of uncertain or unknown effectiveness."
noted a prime reason for its concern: "Although fatalities
resulting from crashes involving large commercial trucks have decreased
in recent years, this improvement may be difficult to sustain as
more people and goods are moved throughout the nation."
2001, 42,116 people were killed and 3,033,000 injured on the nation's
roads. About 12 percent (5,082) of the fatalities and 4 percent
(131,000) of the injuries occurred in collisions involving large
commercial trucks weighing more than 10,001 pounds, GAO said.