Nov. 30 – Nearly 500 people had to cancel travel plans to Atlanta last week when the Federal Highway Administration withdrew from the 1998 National Truck and Bus Safety Summit. Without FHWA’s participation, the summit, which was to have been held Dec. 7-8, was canceled.

George Reagle, top official at the FHWA's Office of Motor Carriers,, has often spoken highly of the results of the first summit the agency held in 1995 in Kansas City, MO. The idea behind the summit was to bring people together from the truck and bus industry, government and others involved in the trucking industry to identify and discuss ways to solve problems, such as driver fatigue. FWHA in a prepared statement said it decided to withdraw because “FHWA efforts have not yet resulted in the broad representation to which we are committed.”
Some in the industry believe the reasons had more to do with politics. Safety groups have been pushing to move the FHWA’s Office of Motor Carriers out of the Department of Transportation and under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, charging that the trucking industry has too much influence on the agency.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain of Arizona recently said he plans to hold hearings early next year on the proposal. He has asked the DOT’s inspector general to analyze the proposal, as well as OMC’s effectiveness, its abilities to perform its safety duties, and what effect the restructuring of FHWA’s field offices will have on motor carrier safety.