oversight

Survey of Costs of Repairing Government Vehicles Damaged in Accidents

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1977-07-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                        DOCUMENT RESUME

03061 -   A2093198]

LSurvey of Costs of Repairing Government Vehicles Damaged in
Accidents]. LCD-77-22!4; B-158712. Jujy 26, 1977. 2 pp.

Report to Sen. Sam Nunn; by Fred J. Shafer, Director, Logistics
and Communications Div.
Issue Area: Facilities and Material Management (700).
Contact: Logistics and Communicaticns Div.
Budget Function: Commerce and Transportation: Ground
    transportation (404).
Organization Concerned: Department of Agriculture; Department of
    Defense; Department of the Interior; DepartmPnt of Justice;
    General Services Aministration; Postal Service.
Congressional Relevance: Sen. Sam Nunn.
Authority: Federal Claims Collection Act. Federal Tort Claims
    Act.
          As a result of assertions mal by B. G. Helton that the
Government was paying too much for repairs to its damaged
vehicles and was losing money on its claims collections, a study
was made of vehicle repair practices and claims processing
procedures at installations of the General Services
Administration, the U.3. Postal Service, and the Departments of
Agriculture, Defense, the Interior, and Justice.
Findings/Conclusionas Mathematical errors and faulty projection
of losses resulted in a yearly loss figure of $20 million in Mr,
Helton's estimate, whereas GAO arrived at a figure of
approximately $9 million. Fucther, GAO's study of vehicle repair
practices and claims collection procedures did not indicate that
the Government was in fact losing or failing to recover vast
amounts of money. Agency policies and practices generally
insured that accident claims, for and against the Government,
were properly and promptly processed and that vehicles were
economically repaired. Problems observed during the study can be
corrected administratively by the agencies involved. The
standard.s set forth in existing regulations and acts wiil, if
properly implemented, p.:otect the Government's interest so that
additional legislation is unnecessary. (DJM)
       i-;)                       i)
                                 UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
                                         WASHINGTON: D.C. 20548


    LOCGISTICS AND COOVlMUNICATOMS
                                                                           JUL 26 1977
O        B-158712

         The Honorable Sam Nunn
         United States Senate
          Dear Senator Nunn:
              In your letter of May 25, 1976, you sent us material
         furnished by Mr. B. G. Belton on inadequacies of the Govern-
         ment in collecting and paying claims arising from Government
         vehicles involved it,accidents. Mr. Helton said the Govern-
         ment was paying too much for repairs on its damaged vehicles.
         He also said the Government was losing at least $20 million
         and could lose more than $250 million using its present ve-
         hicle epair programs and claims-processing procedures.
         Mr. Helton recommended various improvements to these opera-
         tion'.
               You asked that we thoroughly explore Mr. Helton's as-
          sertions. You also asked us to review the Government's
          methods for collecting accident claims, evaluate the effec-
          tiveness of these methods, determine if legislation was
          needed to improve claims collections, and recommend ways
          to improve claims collections.
               We studied vehicle repair practices and claims-processing
          procedures at selected installations of the General Services
          Administration, the United States Postal Service, and the
          Departments of Agriculture, Defense, the Interior, and Jus-
          tice. These agencies operate over 384,000 vehicles, bout
          91 percent of the Government's fleet.
                   On February 11, 1977, we briefed a member of your.staff
              on the study results. We found that mathematical errors and
              faulty projections of losses had greatly overstated projected
              losses in Mr. Helton's estimate, and that the adjusted poten-
              tial loss figure would be closer to $9 million a year than
              $20 million as cited by his study.



                                                                           LCD-77-224
B-158712


     Furthermore, our sudy of vehicle repair practices and
claims collection procedures did not indicate thAt the Gov-
ernment was in fact losing or failing t recover vast amounts
of money. Agency policies and procedures generally insured
that accident claims, for and against the Government, were
properly and promptly processed and that vehicles were eco-
nomically repaired. These policies and procedures, however,
were not always effectively carried out at the working level.
To quantify the resulting losses would be time consuming.

     The attache' reports to the Secretaries of Agriculture
and Defense and the Administrator, General  ervices Adminis-
tration, describe problems observed in the study and our
r CoM.MI   at.In.

     We believe these problems can be c- rected administra-
tively by the agencies involved. The   _ .dards set   ,rth
in the Federal Procurement Regulations, the Federal Claims
Collection Act, and the Federal Tort Claims Act, if properly
carried cut, will protect the Government's interest. We,
therefore, believe that further legislation is not necessary.

     During the study, we talked with Mr. Belton to discuss
his views, t clarify points of issue and statistical data
supporting his allegations, and to iform him of our progress.
We have not, however, told Mr. Helton the complete results
of the study.  As agreed to by your office, we are sending
you an extra copy of our report for him.
                              Sincerely yours,




                              F. J. Shafer
                              Director




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