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DOT, Obama Administration Crack Down on Unsafe Passenger Carriers

Photo: Ray LaHood, DOT

The Obama administration is cracking down on unsafe bus and trucking companies. The Transportation Department announced today that in the last two years, the administration has issued as many imminent hazard orders on bus and truck companies as it has in the previous 10 years combined.

“We have seen the tragic consequences of unsafe practices – whether it’s ignoring fatigue regulations, providing inadequate driver training, or failing to conduct the proper maintenance of a bus or motor coach,” said Ray LaHood, transportation secretary.

LaHood went on to say DOT will do its part in continuing to make sure unsafe carriers are off the road. He added he hopes Congress will act on the department’s proposal to provide it with the necessary authority to expand safety oversight.

Between 2000 and 2009, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued 14 imminent hazard orders and placed unsafe carriers out of service. In the past two years, the FMCSA issues another 14 imminent hazard orders to take unsafe carriers off the road.

The Obama administration has doubled the number of bus inspections and safety reviews of the more than 4,000 bus companies in the U.S. Roadside inspections of motor coaches are up 100 percent as are compliance reviews, up 128 percent.

DOT has asked Congress to provide FMCSA with greater authority to pursue unsafe passenger carriers by implementing new federal standards, conduct more safety inspections at rest stops, and asked Congress to raise the penalty for operating illegally or without authority from $2,000 a day to $25,000 per violation.

DOT also unveiled a “Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time” pre-trip safety checklist, in which consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and DOT operating authority.

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