Federal, state and local police began conducting thousands of surprise safety inspections of motorcoaches, tour buses, school buses and other passenger vehicles across the country as part of a nationwide Passenger Carrier Strike Force. The two-week inspection sweep will continue through October 7, 2011.
The inspection sweep was announced at The Motorcoach Safety Summit, sponsored by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), builds on the DOT’s ongoing efforts to strengthen motorcoach safety.
Over the past five years, FMCSA has doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies.
Roadside motorcoach inspections have jumped nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,705 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.
To ensure passenger carriers operating in violation of DOT regulations are punished, DOT has asked Congress to raise the penalty for operating illegally or without authority from $2,000 a day to $25,000 per violation.
The DOT unveiled a “Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time” pre-trip safety checklist to help consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and U.S. DOT operating authority before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel. The checklist is available online at FMCSA’s passenger bus safety website.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation
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