As a truck accident attorney, one of my primary concerns is safety issues surrounding commercial vehicles, whether they are big rigs or passenger buses. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently conducted surprise passenger carrier safety inspections that resulted in 289 unsafe buses or drivers being removed from our roadways.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced on April 12 that the FMCSA joined forces with state and local law enforcement agencies to carry out 2,782 surprise inspections. From March 28 through April 6, the strike force issued out-of-service violation citations to 156 drivers and 262 vehicles. A similar 17-day campaign earlier in March involved approximately 3,000 surprise inspections and resulted in nearly 300 passenger carriers being put out of service.
“We will continue to use every resource at our disposal to shut down unsafe passenger bus companies that place motorists at risk, and remove drivers from our roads who put passengers in harm’s way,” said Secretary LaHood.
FMCSA and state safety investigators also opened 95 full safety compliance reviews on commercial passenger bus companies. The companies’ safety ratings are based on these reviews.
Since 2005, the FMCSA has doubled its roadside safety inspections and more than doubled compliance reviews of the nation’s estimated 3,700 registered motor coach companies. Passenger fatalities have dropped 19 percent since 2004, from 57 that year to 46 in 2009.
During this time, I have put forth a vigorous effort, joined by other attorneys around the country, to educate the average personal injury attorney in the U.S. about the safety ratings of bus and truck companies in order to hold “rogue” companies responsible for not adopting and following safe practices.