A two-week task force of passenger bus safety inspections has been initiated across the entire nation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).
The agency’s nationwide bus inspection task force is part of the Motorcoach Safety Initiative to remove high-risk buses and drivers from roads and highways. Beyond the surprise inspections, investigators are also scheduled to visit new bus companies to assess their levels of safety.
"Buses are a convenient, inexpensive way to travel, and we are committed to keeping them safe," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "During this two-week crackdown, we are removing dangerous vehicles and drivers from our roads and ensuring that companies who make a business of transporting passengers are also meeting the necessary safety standards."
A team of specially trained investigators and law enforcement officials will be inspecting buses for overall vehicle maintenance, which includes brake systems, tires and exhaust systems. Driver qualifications and company compliance with hours of service requirements will also be verified by the task force.
If the inspection finds that companies that are found violating any safety regulations, they could be immediately put out of service.
"Aggressive task force inspections help save lives on our roadways and protect people who travel by bus," Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro said. "Strong enforcement efforts will increase safety and reduce serious crashes that result in death and injury."
The two-week bus inspection task force was launched on August 26 and is a complement to a more comprehensive, ongoing safety effort that was launched in April and is taking place in every state, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories.
The April-launched task force has already resulted in 18 bus companies being ordered out of service for various safety violations. The FMSCA also rescinded operating authority to an additional 10 bus companies after each of their compliance review investigations resulted in an “unsatisfactory” safety rating.
As part of the overall task force effort, the FMCSA also launched a SaferBus mobile app to give bus riders a simple, speedy and free way to review a bus company's safety record before purchasing a ticket or booking group travel. The SaferBus app, available on the iPhone, iPad and Android powered devices, can be downloaded for free by visiting the FMCSA's "Look Before You Book" webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.