Motorcoaches are buses – the big buses that people take to get from one place to another. You recognize their names: Greyhound, Trailways. They’re also regional motorcoach bus companies: shuttles and local or regional motorcoach companies (go here for the list of those operating in Indiana, for example).
FMCSA oversees the safety of 4,000+ motorcoach companies (buses) in the United States, which combined together have 700,000,000+ passengers take trips on their buses annually. It’s a nice, economical method of transportation and many people enjoy bus travel today. It’s considered safe, dependable travel.
However, when these big monster vehicles crash, there can be lots of people seriously injured or wrongfully killed in the bus accident. Motorcoach bus crashes are very dangerous.
Which is why today, the U.S. Department of Transportation and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced an immediate, targeted safety “crackdown” where the federal agency will be sending out specially trained investigative teams to check out these bus motorcoach companies. It’s going to happen fast, too: the federal crackdown will start now and it’s first investigation phase continue for the next two months.
Law enforcement officers at both the state and local levels are being asked by FMCSA to focus on buses now, too: to check for things like bus motorcoach drivers driving over the speed limit, or changing lanes in a dangerous manner. FMCSA is asking traffic cops to watch buses for things like distracting driving too: bus drivers using a cell phone or texting are being targeted here.
“Our fundamental goal is to ensure the safety of passengers on our roadways and save lives,” said Secretary LaHood. “We’ve seen the tragic consequences when motorcoach companies cut corners and do not make safety a top priority. With this goal at the top of our priorities, we can continue to raise the safety bar for the entire industry.”
What are the bus dangers that the federal motorcoach investigators will be investigating?
After getting special training, these FMCSA inspectors are going to be looking into things like:
- bus operating schedules
- motorcoach equipment storage
- bus driver qualifications.
Why the big crackdown? According to the FMCSA release today, the two big bus crashes in Oregon and California in recent months has resulted in lots of regulatory concern over how safe – or unsafe – it is to ride a bus on American roadways today.
“Motorcoach safety is at the center of this agency’s radar,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “While motorcoach travel is among the safest forms of roadway transportation today, it can and must be safer. The traveling public deserves no less.”