ABA calls on FMCSA, states, to increase inspections

After another deadly bus crash on Monday in Donegal, PA that took the life of the driver and injured two dozen others, the American Bus Association is pressing federal and state authorities to do a better job inspecting and regulating the nation’s bus industry.

ABA officials reviewed Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records on the New Oriental Tour Company and Mr. Ho Bus Service, who, according to published reports owned and operated the bus involved. The bus companies are registered in both Bethlehem, PA and Brooklyn, NY. The ABA found that the New Oriental Tour Company had its operating authority revoked four times in nine years; it also had numerous violations for unsafe driving, including speeding, driving over the hours allowed and falsifying logbooks.

The ABA found that while Mr. Ho Bus Service passed a federal compliance review the first week of June, its buses and drivers failed spot inspections at a much high rate than the national average. The company ranked in the bottom third for driver fatigue and the bottom 40 percent for vehicle maintenance. In late March one company bus was yanked out of service because of serious issues with the vehicle’s braking system and emergency exits.

“The ABA strongly believes bus companies such with a troubled history of consistent major safety problems need to be inspected and reviewed on a regular basis,” said Peter J. Pantuso, president/CEO American Bus Association. “The question here is why did inspectors okay Mr. Ho just three weeks ago when the record shows it was operating unsafe buses? This is unacceptable. Our research shows if the government once and for all will shut down and close companies that operate below the margins of safety or illegally, the fatality rate involving buses will drop by 54 percent. It is a small number of companies causing a large number of accidents and the FMCSA and state governments really need to focus on these operators.”

For more, visit www.buses.org.