Buses are a very common mode of transportation. Every day there are thousands of Americans traveling by bus—everyone from senior citizens traveling to see the fall foliage in the Northeast to elementary students taking field trips to the nation’s capital. Buses are often cheaper and safer than other modes of transportation. But there’s always room for improvement where safety is concerned.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration teamed up with state and local law enforcement Aug. 13 – Aug. 27 for a nationwide bus safety inspection sweep. More than 8,700 buses were inspected in the sweep, and 836 drivers or vehicles were taken off the road because of identified problems. The goal of the inspection sweep was to identify unsafe bus companies and drivers and take them off the road until they have fixed the problems. Identified problems included drivers who were over their hours of service, medically unfit to operate a motor coach and who were speeding excessively. Problems with buses included faulty brakes, excessively worn tires and lack of legal authority to operate.
FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro wrote a post for the U.S. Secretary of Transportation’s official blog, “Fast Lane,” about the inspection sweep. “When I visited Boston’s South Station earlier this month,” Ferro stated in the post, “I saw first-hand how our law enforcement community came together to conduct numerous inspections to make bus travel as safe as possible. Inspections like the ones I witnessed were conducted across the country in national parks, historic sites, amusement parks, and other popular destinations during the strike force.”
The FMCSA has been conducting inspection sweeps like this one for the past seven years, and their reach just keeps growing. This inspection sweep included several locations that had never been included in the sweep before, such as Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA.
Only a small percentage of buses and drivers were identified as having problems requiring them to be removed from the road, but it was still too many. Thankfully the FMCSA conducts sweeps such as this one to make sure that as many unsafe drivers and companies as possible are removed from the road.
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