Following a spate of headline-grabbing bus accidents in New York, Georgia and Florida, federal authorities at the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed new rules that would increase oversight of commercial bus carriers.

Proposals Would Increase Safety, Reduce Accidents, Save Lives

The FCMSA - a federal agency supervised by the larger USDOT - has been jolted into action by a number of passenger bus accidents in recent years. There are several regulatory provisions, that are either going into effect now or that have recently been recently proposed, which are designed to keep metro transit and charter bus passengers safer. These measures include:

  • Allowing federal and state law enforcement agencies to "tag team" inspections of buses, passenger vehicles and motorcoaches during summer's peak travel season, thus putting more skilled personnel on the road to pull unsafe vehicles out of service
  • Requiring drivers seeking a commercial driver's license to first obtain a commercial driver's learning permit by passing challenging written and driving exams
  • Increasing enforcement of commercial driver hours-of-service provisions
  • Using the information provided by the 2010 "Compliance, Safety, Accountability" Act to keep tabs on bus companies with safety violations
  • Forcing more transparency when unsafe companies that have been forced to shut their doors try to restart operations, not by improving the condition of the vehicles in their fleet but instead by opening a company with a new name
  • Empowering travelers through the "Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time" checklist, giving them access to a busing company's accident history and safety rating before purchasing a ticket

What Should You Do If You Are Injured in a Bus Accident?

Summer is the year's busiest travel time, and this year - with gas at record high prices - should be a very profitable one for bus companies. Relatively low prices and a sense of adventure combine to make bus riding an attractive option for many travelers, especially compared with the skyrocketing costs of airline travel.

More buses on the road, however, mean a higher risk of accidents and injuries. If you are injured during a bus accident - regardless of whether the bus was owned by a private company or by a municipal provider like the New York City Transit Authority, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney in your area who can advise you of your options.