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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Slater Applauds New Legislation to Restore Motor Carrier Safety Enforcement Authorities to Department

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Slater Applauds New Legislation to Restore Motor Carrier Safety Enforcement Authorities to Department

U.S. Department of Transportation
October 21, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 21, 1999
Contact: Bill Adams
Tel.: (202) 366-5580
DOT 171-99

U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today said that new legislation approved by Congress and signed by the President has restored full motor carrier safety enforcement authorities to the Department of Transportation.

"In May, we set the goal of reducing motor-carrier related crashes by 50 percent over the next ten years," said Secretary Slater. "This bill recently signed by the President will continue our efforts toward reaching that goal."

The new legislation signed into law October 19, H.R. 3036, again allows the department to assess civil penalties for violations of motor carrier safety regulations. It also allows the Office of Motor Carrier Safety personnel to resume working with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the DOT Inspector General’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on motor carrier enforcement matters.

These functions and activities were suspended due to a provision in the Department of Transportation appropriations act signed into law on October 9. The provision prohibited the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) from spending funds for the functions and activities of the Office of Motor Carriers (OMC).

The Secretary, under separate statutory authority, transferred most OMC functions and activities to a new stand-alone office in the department, the Office of Motor Carrier Safety. However, the authority to assess civil penalties could not be transferred and, consequently, could not be performed. The bill recently signed by the President removes the gap in the regulatory authority.

Slater also commended the U.S. House of Representatives on their passage of the Motor Carrier Safety Act of 1999, H.R. 2679, and stated his intent to work closely with the Senate as they begin to move legislation in the firm hope that a strong motor carrier safety measure can be enacted that will help meet the motor-carrier fatality reduction goal.

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