Principal Technical Analyst
The US Department of Transportation (US DOT) announced on May 27 that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its local and state law enforcement agencies conducted over 3000 surprise passenger bus inspections during a two-week period in May. These inspections resulted in 442 out-of-service citations for 127 drivers and 315 passenger transport vehicles. Additionally, the FMCSA and state safety inspectors launched 38 full safety compliance reviews of commercial passenger bus companies.
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “During this heavy summer travel season, we will remain alert and remove from our roads any passenger bus or driver that places motorists at risk.” According to the US DOT, over the last five years, the number of unannounced commercial passenger bus roadside safety inspections and carrier compliance reviews has doubled. To learn more about this, read the US DOT news release.
In an effort to reduce all commercial motor vehicle crashes, the FMCSA has developed a new safety program called Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA). CSA includes a Safety Measurement System (SMS), which uses crash data and inspection results to identify unsafe motor carrier companies, including passenger carriers. The SMS system evaluates seven different safety performance categories, or BASICs (Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories). These are: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service), Driver Fitness, Controlled Substances/Alcohol, Vehicle Maintenance, Cargo-Related, and Crash Indicator.
The US DOT estimates that passenger carriers or buses transport 750 million people each year in the US. The most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that there were 221 bus-involved fatality crashes in 2009. The number of bus-involved fatality crashes has dropped steadily since 2006, when there were 305 fatality crashes.