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USPS OIG – Contract Trucking Safety and Compliance

February 29, 2024

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Background

The U.S. Postal Service and its contracted trucking companies and drivers play a key role in transporting and maintaining the safety and security of the mail. The Postal Service has approximately 4,600 trucking contracts (highway contract routes and freight auction services) with associated costs of $5.2 billion. The Postal Service’s ability to effectively manage and oversee these operations, while promoting safety controls and compliance, will support contract performance and protect the safety of motorists nationwide.

What We Did

Our objective was to assess the effectiveness of contract trucking safety controls, compliance, and oversight in response to a congressional request and stakeholder concerns.

What We Found

Contract trucking safety controls and oversight were not always effective. The Postal Service did not track contractor accidents and fatalities. While contractors must provide accident data, the Postal Service did not record this information. The Postal Service plans to monitor and track this information within an existing platform, but these plans have not been implemented. Secondly, the Postal Service did not always know who was authorized to transport the mail or enforce the terms and conditions of the contracts or Ordering Agreements. This occurred because there was no requirement to report subcontractor authorization or vetting to the Postal Service; inconsistent policy requirements to provide written subcontractor approval; no authorization tracking system; and communication and prioritization issues. As a result, the Postal Service may lack visibility into the safety performance of contractors and subcontractors.

Lastly, Postal Service screening processes did not include a contract trucker’s driving history. We previously reported on insufficient screenings for highway contract route drivers and found similar issues for freight auction drivers, as 241,006 trips filled through the freight auction process were completed by unvetted drivers. These issues occurred because freight auction is considered a special circumstance. Continued use of the current freight auction driver vetting processes could compromise the safety and security of mail and other motorists.

Recommendations

We recommend management finalize the method for tracking contractor accident and fatality data and policies; require subcontractor authorization and develop a reporting system; clarify policies to authorize subcontractors; implement a mechanism to track subcontractors; validate team drivers and update policies; define freight auction; and update and enforce freight auction guidance.

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