Safety & Accident

Audit: NYC Sanitation Kept 500 Recalled Vehicles In Operation

March 01, 2017

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) failed to track how employees paid for toll road access and continued to operate 509 vehicles with an open recall, according to a report from the Comptroller's Office.

The Comptroller's Office found that 509 of the DSNY's vehicles were listed on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's database of open recalls. In the DSNY's response, it said it will improve monitoring of recalls and work with vehicle vendors and manufacturers done in a timely manner.

The report focused on the DSNY's usage of E-ZPasses, which were issued by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to give employees access to toll roads. The DSNY is responsible for collecting, recycling, and disposing of waste; cleaning streets and vacant lots; and clearing snow and ice.

Of the DSNY's 10,222 employees, 9,113 were authorized to use agency vehicles and were issued E-ZPasses. In fiscal year 2016, DSNY spent about $5 million in E-ZPass usage. According to the report, the DSNY did not maintain a log or trip tickets detailing E-ZPass usage and did not keep track of E-ZPass tags. Without these records, the agency was unable to verify when city vehicles and E-ZPasses were used for city business or commuting. It was also unable to collect reimbursement from employees for personal use. 

The Comptroller's Office offered 14 recommendations for the DSNY, including that it maintain logs and trip tickets detailing E-ZPass usage, monitor and limit the personal use of city vehicles, contact OEMs to determine the next steps after a vehicle is recalled, and retire vehicles that pose a safety hazard to employees. In response, the agency has stated that it has taken steps to improve its E-ZPass inventory system and incorporate the recommendarions where feasible.

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