The man in the truck safety hot seat at the Department of Transportation advises patience and careful study of the facts before anything is done to the Office of Motor Carriers.
“We must await the results of the (Blue Ribbon) Task Force” on truck safety, said Kenneth Wykle, chief of OMC’s parent agency, the Federal Highway Administration. “We need to get the emotion out of the issue.”
The Task Force, headed by former House Public Works Committee Chairman Norman Y. Mineta, brings together representatives of all segments of the highway community in search of consensus on how to improve safety. It was created at the initiative of Wykle and Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater to provide an objective analysis of OMC’s performance as a truck safety enforcement agency.
In an interview during DOT’s National Transportation Safety Conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Wykle also expressed concern about factual errors he has heard in the debate about whether OMC should be moved from FHWA to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In particular, Wykle said, statements concerning the number of OMC’s compliance reviews have misrepresented the statistics. He contests the analysis of DOT’s Inspector General, who has said OMC has been completing only two compliance reviews a month. The total numbers indicate OMC has been completing more reviews than that, he said.
“A lot of good things are being done at OMC,” he said, then added: “We can do more.”
DOT’s Inspector General is auditing OMC at the request of Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA. Wolf, who is pushing for OMC to be moved to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, says OMC has fallen down on the job because it has become too cozy with the trucking industry.