Oct. 13 – A Virginia representative wants to move the Office of Motor Carriers from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican, has been working to get the change into the House version of the DOT’s 1999 appropriations bill, expected to pass this week.
Wolf’s plan has met with opposition from the trucking industry and from Rep. Bud Shuster, chairman of the House transportation committee.
Safety groups have been pushing for the move because they see NHTSA as a much tougher agency.
“It’s a much better fit for highway safety,” said Judith Stone, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, as reported in The Detroit News.
But Kenneth Wyckle, head of the Federal Highway Administration, says responsibility for truck safety is “appropriate where it’s currently located.”
The trucking industry notes that NHTSA has no expertise on topics such as driver fatigue and hours of service. “Dealing with tired truckers is substantially more complex than dealing with what kind of tires should be put on vehicles,” Lana Batts, president of the Truckload Carriers Assn., told the Detroit paper.