During the last two years of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation has issued as many imminent hazard orders placing unsafe bus and truck companies out of service as in the previous 10 years combined. The federal agency has zeroed in on unsafe carriers by conducting surprise inspections, full compliance reviews and enforcement actions.
Between 2000 and 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a total of 14 imminent hazard orders placing unsafe carriers out of service. In just the last two years, FMCSA has already issued another 14 imminent hazard orders to take carriers that pose an immediate risk to passengers off the road.
The Obama Administration has also doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies. Roadside inspections of motorcoaches have jumped nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 in 2010, while compliance reviews are up 128 percent, from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010. In addition, FMCSA has initiated a greater number of enforcement cases against unsafe passenger carriers under the current administration: these cases have risen from 36 in 2008 to 44 in 2010.
In just the past four months, FMCSA has issued eight out-of-service orders. FMCSA issued these orders immediately following safety investigations that found the carriers and/or the drivers to be in such substantial non-compliance with federal safety regulations as to pose an imminent hazard to public safety. The eight imminent hazard out-of-service orders in 2011 have been issued to seven interstate motorcoach companies: two each based in Georgia and Pennsylvania, and one each in Michigan, Mississippi and North Carolina.