Despite a successful trial in Washington state, the Government
Accountability Office is not confident in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration’s ability to manage a nationwide program that would put
enforcement officers into the jumpseats of trucks.
According to a GAO press release, officials were thrilled with the
results of “Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks,” or TACT. The pilot program –
funded by more than $800,000 from state and federal funds, more than a half of
which came from FMCSA – enabled Washington State Patrol officers to ride along
with commercial drivers to nab four-wheelers who drove irresponsibly around
However, the accountability office said it was unsure of whether FMCSA
had the know-how to pull off the program on a nationwide scale.
“While FMCSA designated a liaison to learn
about TACT-like initiatives, GAO continues to have concerns about FMCSA’s
limited experience with these initiatives,” the press release stated.
Additionally, the office called into question the financial resources
FMCSA has dedicated to Share the Road Safely, a larger FMCSA program under
which the TACT pilot program was funded.
“FMCSA plans to spend the majority of its
fiscal year 2006 STRS funds on initiatives that do not have evaluations showing
their impacts,” the report said.
Instead, GAO is advising FMCSA and NHTSA to continue encouraging
individual states to develop similar programs on their own.
Although the pilot program in Washington began receiving federal funding
in 2005, it had actually been in existence – albeit on a smaller scale - since
July 2003. The program – known originally as “Step Up and Ride” – was started
after a trooper noticed that a large number of fatal accidents involving
commercial vehicles were caused by four-wheelers.