FMCSA conducting bus inspections across eastern states
All this week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its state and local law enforcement partners are conducting safety inspections of motorcoaches, tour buses, school buses and other commercial passenger buses in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
The sweeps are part of FMCSA’s year-round effort to raise the bar for bus safety and protect bus passengers by taking unsafe operators off the road. Beginning May 11 and running through May 20, inspections are being held in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
As part of the inspection process, law enforcement officers are thoroughly checking buses for any mechanical problem, such as brakes, lights and engine defects. Bus drivers are also inspected to ensure they are operating in full compliance with hours-of-service, medical fitness, commercial driver’s license and other federal safety rules.
Over the past five years, FMCSA has doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 commercial passenger bus companies. Roadside motorcoach inspections have increased nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,705 in 2010, while compliance reviews are up 128 percent, from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010. By significantly increasing bus safety inspections, FMCSA placed 54 unsafe companies out of service in 2011 alone.
As part of FMCSA’s ongoing efforts to improve commercial bus safety, the agency recently unveiled SaferBus, a first-of-its-kind, multilingual app that gives bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company’s safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel. Designed for the Apple iPhone and iPad, the SaferBus app can be downloaded for free by visiting the Apple iTunes App Store or going to FMCSA’s “Look Before You Book” webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.
Over the last two years DOT has taken action to reduce distracted driving by commercial truck and bus drivers. In January 2010, FMCSA banned texting by commercial drivers, and in November 2011, the agency prohibited commercial drivers from reaching for, holding or dialing a cell phone while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
To learn more about FMCSA’s robust passenger bus safety initiatives, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.