U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 29, 2000
Contact: Dave Longo
U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Final Report on Illinois, Florida CDL Programs
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
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
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, .
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