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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation H-09-018
Details
Synopsis: About 12:45 a.m., central daylight time, on Friday, August 8, 2008, a 2002 56-passenger Motor Coach Industries, Inc., motorcoach, operated by Iguala BusMex, Inc., was northbound on U.S. Highway 75 when it was involved in a single-vehicle, multiple-fatality accident in Sherman, Texas. The chartered motorcoach had departed the Vietnamese Martyrs Catholic Church in Houston, Texas, at approximately 8:30 p.m. on August 7, 2008, with a driver and 55 passengers onboard, en route to the Marian Days Festival in Carthage, Missouri. When the accident occurred, the motorcoach had completed about 309 miles of the approximately 600-mile-long trip.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Establish a regulatory requirement within 49 Code of Federal Regulations 382.405 that provides the National Transportation Safety Board, in the exercise of its statutory authority, access to all positive drug and alcohol test results and refusal determinations that are conducted under the U.S. Department of Transportation testing requirements.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Highway
Location: Sherman, TX, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: HWY08MH022
Accident Reports: Motorcoach Run-Off-The-Bridge and Rollover
Report #: HAR-09-02
Accident Date: 8/8/2008
Issue Date: 11/19/2009
Date Closed: 2/1/2017
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FMCSA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 2/1/2017
Response: We are pleased to learn that you published the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule on December 5, 2016. This rule satisfies the intent of Safety Recommendations H 01 25 and H 09-18, which are both classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/29/2016
Response: -From Michael Jordan, Management and Program Analyst, Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: • FMCSA anticipates publication of the CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse final rule by August 2016. • FMCSA requests NTSB maintain the classification for safety recommendation H-09-018 as “Open- Acceptable Response.”

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 7/10/2014
Response: We appreciate that your NPRM would amend 49 Code of Federal Regulations 382.405 to provide us with access to information contained in the clearinghouse concerning drivers who are involved in a crash under investigation. Because our investigations frequently expand beyond the accident-involved driver to examine systemic issues and trends that might have fostered conditions that led to the crash, we proposed the following, revised language for 49 CFR 382.405(e)(2) in our comments to the docket: The FMCSA will provide the NTSB with access to information in the clearinghouse that may be pertinent to its investigative mission. By including this revised language in the final rule, you would assist us in better fulfilling our mission. Pending publication of a final rule that includes our proposed revision, Safety Recommendation H-09-18 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 4/23/2014
Response: CC# 201400197: From the April 23, 2014 NPRM response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), “Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse,” published in 79 Federal Register 9703, on February 20, 2014. The FMCSA proposes establishing a commercial driver’s license (CDL) drug and alcohol clearinghouse, a database that will contain controlled substances (drug) and alcohol test results for the holders of CDLs. The NTSB issued the following safety recommendation to the FMCSA after experiencing difficulty in obtaining controlled substance test results for the driver involved in a 2008 motorcoach run-off-the-road crash in Sherman, Texas : Establish a regulatory requirement within 49 Code of Federal Regulations 382.405 that provides the National Transportation Safety Board, in the exercise of its statutory authority, access to all positive drug and alcohol test results and refusal determinations that are conducted under the US Department of Transportation testing requirements. (H-09-18)

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 3/29/2011
Response: The NTSB is encouraged that the FMCSA is developing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to establish a commercial driver’s license (CDL) database for controlled substances and alcohol test results, which was scheduled to be published in November 2010 and that, pending the rulemaking, the FMCSA will continue to provide the NTSB access to testing information to determine the probable cause of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) crashes under NTSB investigation. However, we ask the FMCSA to clarify that the proposed rule will stipulate that the NTSB must be given access not only to postaccident test results, but also to all positive drug and alcohol test results, to include random testing results, whether documented in the central database or pending entry. Such information concerning the toxicological and medical conditions of vehicle operators is vital to successful accident investigation and appropriate inquiry into involved drivers’ professional history, as well as to the effectiveness of motorcarriers’ random testing programs and state oversight in identifying drivers with a history of illegal drug use and/or a refusal to submit to testing, as required. Currently, 49 CFR 382.405 provides that the NTSB has access only to the results of postaccident alcohol and/or controlled substance tests administered following the accident under investigation. The intent of this recommendation is to allow the NTSB access to all positive drug and alcohol test results and refusal determinations that are under the authority of the USDOT. As concluded in the Sherman, Texas, accident, the difficulty in obtaining state records in connection with controlled substance tests results for the driver of the accident only highlights the NTSB’s need for investigative access to a national database of all positive drug test results. Further, there is a need for employers to release the information to the NTSB even before its entry in the database in the event of an accident. Accordingly, pending clarification that the rulemaking will provide the NTSB the access requested, and completion of such rulemaking, Safety Recommendation H-09-18 is classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. Also, as the NPRM was not issued on the FMCSA’s anticipated schedule, we would appreciate being informed as to when it will be issued.

From: NTSB
To: FMCSA
Date: 9/30/2010
Response: Notation 8248: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Announcement of Public Listening Session and Request for Comment, which was published at 75 Federal Register 53015 on August 30, 2010. The notice announced that the FMCSA planned to hold a public listening session to solicit input on key challenges facing the motor carrier industry, issues facing stakeholders, and concerns that should be considered by the agency in developing its next 5-year Strategic Plan. NTSB staff attended the listening session and provided the FMCSA with a list of open recommendations that have been issued to the FMCSA. The FMCSA also invited written comments, suggestions, and recommendations from all individuals and organizations regarding the FMCSA’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives (goals) for the plan. This letter provides a more detailed history of the currently open recommendations the NTSB has made to the FMCSA (attached), a summary of the key safety issues the FMCSA should address to improve truck and bus safety as presented during the NTSB’s April 28, 2010, testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security (attached), and responds to the questions most relevant to the NTSB’s mission for which the FMCSA is seeking input. Question 2. How can the FMCSA have a greater impact in the reduction of injuries and loss of life on our nation’s highways? The NTSB currently has 51 open recommendations that were issued to the FMCSA with the intent to improve safety on our highways. The implementation of these recommendations would allow the FMCSA to have both an immediate and lasting impact on reducing loss on our highways. We continue to believe that a plan to implement the recommendations on the NTSB’s Federal Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL) would significantly contribute to transportation safety. Question 5. How can the FMCSA balance driver-focused, vehicle-focused, motor carrier- focused compliance, interventions, and enforcement to achieve its safety mission? The NTSB has recommended that the FMCSA change the “balance” of its motor carrier oversight since 1999. The two most important factors related to safe motor carrier operations are the condition of the vehicles and the performance of the drivers. Current rules prevent the FMCSA from putting carriers out of service with an unsatisfactory rating in only one of the 6 rated factors. They must be unsatisfactory in at least 2 factors. In other words, they could be unsatisfactory in either the vehicle or driver areas and still be allowed to operate. The NTSB believes that an unsatisfactory in either category should be sufficient cause to place a carrier out of service. The NTSB recommended that the FMCSA do something relatively simple: change the safety fitness rating methodology so that adverse vehicle- or driver performance-based data alone would be sufficient to result in an overall “unsatisfactory” rating for a carrier. To date, the FMCSA has not acted on this recommendation. As a result, the NTSB added this recommendation to our Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. The NTSB has been encouraged that the FMCSA is developing the CSA 2010 Initiative to include a greater emphasis on vehicle and driver safety. However, the NTSB is disappointed that the FMCSA did not make the incremental changes to the current safety system necessary to make either driver or vehicle deficiencies sufficient to affect the safety rating of a carrier. As such, the NTSB believes the FMCSA’s strategic plan should recognize the importance of getting carriers with unsafe drivers or unsafe vehicles off the road. Question 8. What technological changes could positively impact highway safety? The NTSB has recommended numerous technological improvements to both the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Two technologies, forward collision warning systems (FCWs) and electronic onboard recording systems (EOBRs), are currently on the NTSB’s Federal MWL. Both of these technologies have been available for the last decade and could have improved highway safety. More recently, the NTSB has recommended to NHTSA technologies for driver fatigue detection, stability control for buses, event data recording, and lane departure warning for buses. The implementation of these recommendations would significantly improve highway safety. Question 9. How will technology affect driver behavior? Well designed technology can improve driver performance. Current research by the FMCSA on vehicle based collision warning systems found improved driver performance as a result of technology. However, technology not designed for use in vehicles, such as cell phones, can distract the driver from the road. That is why the NTSB supported the FMCSA’s ban on texting. Further, the NTSB has included restricting bus drivers from using a cell phone on its Federal MWL. The NTSB appreciates the opportunity to comment on this notice addressing concerns that should be considered in developing the FMCSA’s 5-year Strategic Plan. Many of the issues discussed here have been around for decades, and much is left to be done to improve highway safety. Prompt action is needed so that the trucks and buses that surround us on the nation’s highways are safely designed, maintained, and operated. We look forward to working with FMCSA in the near future to address the concerns presented in these comments.

From: FMCSA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/26/2010
Response: MC# 2100193 - From Anne S. Ferro, Administrator: The FMCSA will consider the NTSB recommendation as the Agency develops its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to establish a commercial driver's license (CDL) controlled substances and alcohol test results database. The regulatory initiative is currently included on the Agency's rulemaking agenda under regulatory identification number (RTN) 2 126-AB18 with an anticipated publication date of November 2010. This rulemaking would create a central database of verified positive controlled substances and alcohol test results for CDL holders and refusals by such drivers to submit to testing. This rulemaking would also require service agents and employers of CDL holders to record positive test results and, refusals to test, into the database. Prospective employers, acting on an application for a CDL driver position and the applicant's written consent to access the database, would query the database regarding the applicant before allowing the applicant to be hired and to drive commercial motor vehicles (CMV). In the interim, while the rulemaking process proceeds, FMCSA will continue to provide NTSB staff with the testing information it needs to determine the probable cause of CMV crashes under NTSB investigation. The FMCSA requests that the recommendation be classified as "Open - Acceptable Response," pending the completion of the rulemaking.