GAO: FMCSA should better evaluate Share the Road Safely program

| 6/4/2003

The 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.

The 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.

However, 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).

"We 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."

GAO 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."

In 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.