Surprise inspections target bus company after bus accidents in Chicago, elsewhere

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) teamed up with its state and local law enforcement partners across the nation recently and conducted nearly 3,000 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. These inspections come after a string of fatal bus accidents that we recently told you about on our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog.

“Working side-by-side with our state and local law enforcement partners, we can ensure that every passenger bus company and driver operates as safely as possible,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “These strike force activities are one of the many effective tools we use year-round to raise the safety bar for commercial buses and drivers on our nation’s roadways.”Our Chicago personal injury lawyers understand that everyone is budgeting their money more consciously since the beginning of the recession. While many companies are now offering lower ticket rates to appeal to potential customers, could they come with a cost — in the form of older buses, less maintenance and lower pay for drivers.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Secretary LaHood. “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.”

Of the approximately 3,000 inspections carried out by the FMCSA, nearly 300 drivers and buses were yanked off the road for failing to meet safety standards. The fact that 1 in 10 buses had safety risks so serious they were not permitted to remain on the road should tell passengers all they need to know about the state of bus safety in America.

The feds are making an effort to strengthen passenger carrier safety nationwide after being criticized for the recent fatal bus incidents. Still, more needs to be done to keep these companies honest — and to make sure they are putting passenger safety ahead of profits.

Other agencies are contributing to the revamp of bus safety standards as well. The Obama Administration made much-needed improvements to motorcoach safety by creating and enforcing a new Motorcoach Safety Action Plan. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed new regulations that require electronic on-board recorders and seat belts on every bus. These electronic on-board recorders aim to replace the antiquated system of having drivers track work hours with paper log books. The government also prohibited texting and cell phone use by commercial drivers who are operating a tour bus.

With the summer travel season upon us, we encourage you to do your best to ensure the bus company you choose can get you to your destination safely. More should go into your decisions about travel plans than the price of the ticket.

If you are in an Illinois tour bus accident, contact the Chicago bus accident attorneys at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (312) 924-7575. There is no fee unless you win.

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