The Nevada Highway Patrol needs to dramatically increase truck inspections to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles, according to auditors.
Auditors said Nevada has some 2,300 intrastate motor carriers but no division personnel dedicated solely to inspecting them - even through federal money is available to hire at least three inspectors.
"The potential benefit of performing additional compliance reviews is fewer accidents on the highway," said the audit report.
Nevada, according to the report, had a higher rate of fatalities involving heavy trucks than other western states between 1996 and 1999.
It says a national study showed a 12 percent reduction in accidents after motor carriers received a compliance review.
Auditors also recommended using civilian personnel to perform compliance reviews of those trucking firms saying that would free up troopers for law enforcement duties. They pointed out that most western states use civilian employees for inspections.
Auditors also urged NHP officials to implement much stronger inventory controls over their new communications equipment. They said that equipment is valued at about $7.7 million but that there hasn't been a physical count of communications equipment for the past three to four years.
Finally, auditors estimated the division could save up to $97,500 by contracting out preventative maintenance servicing for its vehicles. That would reduce the workload on NHP mechanics by some $2,600 hours a year, sharply cutting down overtime hours. In addition, they said contracting out equipment installations in new NHP vehicles would reduce the workload in the Reno shop by 2,400 hours.
The audit was performed by the state's Division of Internal Audits. NHP officials accepted all the recommendations.