In a statement to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Monday, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Administrator Anne S. Ferro said the agency was shutting down unsafe carriers as quickly as their authority permitted. Ferro said that since January, the agency had declared 18 bus companies “unsatisfactory” and has proposed that rating for another 15.
Ferro added that if a carrier or its drivers and vehicles present a severe risk, the FMCSA will not wait for the 45-day appeal period and will declare it an Imminent Hazard and shut it down immediately.
This past week the FMCSA used the Imminent Hazard authority to shut down three companies, including one in Michigan that put passengers in the cargo hold.
Ferro said that while the FMCSA has proposed or is close-to-final on rules and programs in all of these areas, tightening the net around unsafe bus operators requires stronger authority. She said the agency has provided technical assistance to Congress for authority to:
- Conduct en-route bus inspections; not just at points of origin and destination;
- Establish a “successor liability” standard to charge a new company when it reincarnates from an unsafe carrier;
- Require full safety audits BEFORE a company can receive passenger carrier authority;
- Raise the penalty to $25,000 per violation for bus companies that attempt to operate illegally; and
- Regulate passenger ticket sellers, known as brokers, just like we do brokers of freight and household goods.
For more, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.