Accidents involving commercial buses – public transportation and private motor coach carriers – can pose severe dangers to passengers and those in other motor vehicles on the road. So they are subject to in-depth federal and state regulations. A recent action taken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) highlights the validity of this concern.
On May 31, the FMCA declared 26 bus operations imminent hazards to public safety, due to their actions or inactions, and shut down their operations. It was the single largest safety crackdown in the agency’s history.
Investigators for the FMCA found that the carriers had numerous safety violations, including a lack of regular safety inspections on some vehicles, drivers operating without valid commercial drivers’ licenses, and an absence of alcohol and drug testing programs.
In announcing the commercial bus safety crackdown, FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said, “The egregious acts of these carriers put the unsuspecting public at risk, and they must be removed from our highways immediately.”
Earlier in May, the FMCSA conducted 2,200 safety inspections of commercial buses in 13 states and the District of Columbia, which resulted in the removal of 116 commercial vehicle drivers and 169 buses deemed unsafe.
Motor coaches, tour buses, school buses, and other commercial passenger buses involved in accidents, can pose significant hazards due to the number of passengers they carry and, like commercial trucks and other commercial vehicles, due to their overbearing size and weight. According to the FMCSA, about 63,000 buses are involved in traffic crashes each year, including 325 with fatalities (375 deaths total), and 14,000 with non-fatal injuries. Commercial bus carriers and drivers acting negligently only compound the problem.