The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has begun a two-week strike force of passenger bus safety inspections across the country, part of the agency's Motorcoach Safety Initiative to remove high-risk buses and drivers from our roads. In addition to surprise inspections, investigators will also 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," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "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."
Law enforcement and specially trained investigators are inspecting buses for overall vehicle maintenance including brakes, tires and exhaust systems. They are also verifying driver qualifications and compliance with hours-of-service requirements. Companies found to be violating safety regulations could be put out of service.
"Aggressive strike force inspections help save lives on our roadways and protect people who travel by bus," said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "Strong enforcement efforts will increase safety and reduce serious crashes that result in death and injury."
Today's strike force is a complement to a broader, ongoing safety effort launched in April 2013. That strike force, which included special training for 50 FMCSA safety inspectors and targets the 250 highest-risk carriers, has resulted in 18 bus companies being ordered out of service for safety violations. The agency has also revoked the operating authority of 10 additional bus companies following compliance review investigations that resulted in an "unsatisfactory" safety rating.
As part of the effort, FMCSA launched a SaferBus mobile app to give bus riders a quick and free way to review a bus company's safety record before buying a ticket or booking group travel. The SaferBus app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android phone users, can be downloaded for free by visiting FMCSA's "Look Before You Book" webpage at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saferbus.
FMCSA urges consumers and whistleblowers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA's consumer complaint web site: http://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/HomePage.asp.