U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Final Report on Illinois, Florida CDL Programs
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
November 29, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Acting Deputy Administrator Clyde J. Hart Jr. today announced the release of a final report recommending stronger oversight of the Illinois and Florida commercial driver’s license (CDL) programs and addressing other issues that may have contributed to licensing irregularities in those states.
"The creation of this panel and our management of this initiative reflect our continuing commitment to enhancing safety," Hart said. "Safety is President Clinton and Vice President Gore’s highest transportation priority, and our actions will help ensure that all drivers are safe and qualified to operate commercial vehicles."
The report is from a panel appointed by U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater after Illinois Governor George Ryan in March 2000 requested assistance in conducting a review of the state’s CDL and driver safety programs.
The report recommends that monitoring and oversight of organizations that conduct testing on behalf of the State be strengthened and greater opportunities provided to state employees and to the general public to report potentially fraudulent licensing activity.
Despite the need for improvement in management oversight and monitoring, the panel found that CDL programs in both States were fundamentally sound and meeting the objectives of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The CDL programs in both States have all but eliminated the use by drivers of multiple licenses to avoid prosecution for moving violations and have also increased the professionalism of all drivers.
The report also contains other general program findings and recommendations covering state control and oversight; CDL program and data management; fraud prevention; problem drivers; testing in foreign languages; and federal program management and oversight.
In September 1998, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General initiated a criminal investigation (Operation Safe Road) after receiving information from the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Motor Carrier Safety (now Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)) to investigate allegations that employees of Illinois were accepting cash bribes to help unqualified drivers obtain fraudulent CDLs.
Operation Safe Road is a coordinated criminal investigation involving the USDOT’s Office of Inspector General as well as the FBI, Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service and Illinois State Police. The investigation expanded to Florida when a third-party testing facility was found to be illegally selling CDLs to primarily non-English speaking applicants.
This report represents the latest in a series of efforts by USDOT and FMCSA to enhance and improve the CDL program. Since the program was begun in 1992, USDOT has promulgated regulations addressing state compliance with CDL requirements; conducted a CDL benefits and effectiveness study and program review; initiated outreach to the judiciary on CDL enforcement issues; established industry forums for driver licensing agencies and the commercial motor vehicle industry; developed and funded the driver history initiative to assist states in the timely development and transmission of complete and accurate driver moving violation conviction information; and most recently, launched an effort to expand and improve the CDL compliance review process managed through FMCSA’s field offices.
The USDOT has a long-standing history of undertaking actions to improve commercial driver safety. Most recently, USDOT proposed new measures to strengthen the effectiveness of the CDL program, which were adopted and included in the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999.
A copy of the report is on FMCSA’s web site, www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
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