In the wake of two deadly bus crashes, the FMCSA released a statement vowing to crackdown on unsafe bus companies. FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro announced that a specially trained investigation team will focus its efforts on “high-risk motorcoach companies.”
Ferro says the team of special inspectors and auditors will undergo specialized training aimed at ” investigating key areas of operations at motorcoach companies deemed to be high risk carriers. These operations are unique to the motorcoach industry, such as operating schedules, equipment storage, and driver qualifications (including evaluating the impact of part-time drivers who may work for more than one bus operator), among other safety concerns. The first wave of a national safety sweep will be carried out over the next two months by FMCSA safety personnel who will coordinate with state law enforcement partners on targeted bus company and vehicle inspections,” the press release stated.
The FMCSA is asking state and local police to step up enforcement of traffic laws against motorcoach drivers who are caught, speeding, following too closely, texting, using a handheld cell phone, impaired driving, and unsafe lane changing.
“Our fundamental goal is to ensure the safety of passengers on our roadways and save lives,” said Secretary LaHood. “We’ve seen the tragic consequences when motorcoach companies cut corners and do not make safety a top priority. With this goal at the top of our priorities, we can continue to raise the safety bar for the entire industry.”
In addition to stepping up inspections of high-risk companies, the FMCSA is also urging the public to research a bus company before buying a bus ticket. The FMCSA also encouraged the public to use the SaferBus app. The app offers users a free, quick and easy way to research a bus company’s history.
“Motorcoach safety is at the center of this agency’s radar,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “While motorcoach travel is among the safest forms of roadway transportation today, it can and must be safer. The traveling public deserves no less.”
FMCSA urges consumers and whistleblowers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA’s consumer complaint Web site: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp.