Bus Accidents Cause Numerous Deaths And Injuries
Bus accidents cause numerous deaths and injuries every year in the United States. This firm recently represented a young man seriously injured when the driver of the bus in which he was riding mistakenly exited an interstate highway and fell from a bridge. Several young men and the driver were killed and many injured.
The U.S. Transportation announced several new measures that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking to help ensure that passengers traveling by bus are as safe as possible.
The U.S. DOT will now require more rigorous commercial driver’s license testing standards, seek new rules to strengthen passenger carrier and driver compliance with federal safety regulations, and empower consumers to review safety records of bus companies before booking.
They also announced that FMCSA will be teaming up with state law enforcement to conduct unannounced motor coach inspections at popular travel destinations throughout the spring and summer peak travel season.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a new final rule requiring anyone applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to first obtain a commercial driver’s learner’s permit. The rule also requires all state licensing agencies to use a CDL testing system that meets the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators CDL knowledge and skill standards and prohibits the use of foreign language interpreters to reduce the potential for testing fraud.
Prior to this new rule, CDL applicants were not required to first obtain a learner’s permit and CDL testing systems were not uniform nationwide.
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued several new policy proposals designed to raise the bar for passenger carrier safety, including a provision that would give the U.S. DOT greater authority to pursue enforcement action against unsafe “reincarnated” passenger carriers by establishing a federal standard to help determine whether a new carrier is simply a reincarnation of an old, unsafe carrier.
The Department is also proposing to require new motorcoach companies to undergo a full safety audit before receiving U.S. DOT operating authority, revise current law to ensure a driver’s CDL can be suspended or revoked for drug- and alcohol-related offenses committed in non-commercial vehicles, and raise the penalty from $2,000 a day to $25,000 for passenger carriers that attempt to operate without USDOT authority.
The USDOT also unveiled a safety checklist that will help consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and USDOT operating authority before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel.
In addition, FMCSA and its state and local enforcement partners are supporting improved passenger bus safety with a growing number of unannounced bus safety inspections across the country. Starting this week and lasting throughout the summer travel season, the enforcement campaign will target popular destinations such as amusement parks, national parks, casinos, and sports event venues.
Over the past five years, FMCSA has doubled the number of unannounced bus safety inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies.
The Administration has taken a number of additional actions over the past several years to improve passenger safety:
• Last December, USDOT launched a new safety measurement system titled Compliance, Safety, Accountability that provides detailed safety data to identify bus companies for safety interventions.
• Last year, USDOT adopted a rule to combat distracted driving by banning commercial drivers from texting behind the wheel and proposed a new standard to prohibit hand-held mobile phone use.