Official Wants CDL Examiners Monitored

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s inspector general recommended to a congressional subcommittee that covert procedures be used to monitor the commercial driver’s license program.

Inspector General Kenneth Mead discussed the CDL program and other issues while outlining the DOT’s $54.3 billion budget request before a House appropriations subcommittee March 14.

The DOT has requested a $10.8 million increase in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CDL program, which would bring the total CDL program funding to $22 million.
“The subcommittee should consider linking this request to a FMCSA requirement that states use covert procedures to monitor driver examiners,” Mead said.

A May 2002 DOT report said the “magnitude of fraud in the CDL program warranted the required use of covert procedures.” Federal and state governments lack sufficient control to guard against CDL fraud, he said. For example, only four of the 13 states DOT officials surveyed had laws requiring applicants to prove they were U.S. citizens or even had a legal presence in the United States.

Mead also noted that a DOT audit was scheduled to be released in April measuring the validity of Safety Status Measurement System, or SafeStat, which rates motor carrier safety. “Industry concern” had been voiced over the model’s effectiveness, he said.

Mead also discussed progress on opening the Mexican border. The FMCSA is expected to release a report soon on how it has met safety standards on opening the border.

Lastly, he added that properly certified private contractors should be used for safety audits to save money, as authorized in the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.