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Congress Passes Bill Requiring Safety Grades for Public Buses

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Jul 5, 2012 3:55:52 PM

After noticing a disturbing increase in the number of public bus crashes in New York, often resulting in passenger fatalities, Senator Charles Schumer proposed legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to impose safety ratings on discount bus companies. The bill is now awaiting the President's signature.

If signed into law, the Federal Motor Carriage Safety Administration will be tasked with creating a system to rate public bus companies using a letter grade, facilitating passengers' ability to compare safety ratings among bus companies. DOT will also be expected to make the ratings easily accessible to the public. Senator Schumer proposed posting the ratings at all locations where customers can buy tickets, including bus terminals. He has also suggested posting the ratings on the buses themselves.

Senator Schumer said, "This is a significant victory for consumers and will serve as a major incentive for operators to get serious about safety, or risk losing passengers."

The bill was proposed following a string of deadly bus crashes that occurred in the past couple of years. In 2010, a bus driver crashed a bus into a bridge in Syracuse. The driver was distracted by a GPS device at the time of the accident, which resulted in four fatalities.

An even more deadly accident occurred in the Bronx in March 2011, ultimately killing 15 passengers. The Bronx bus accident led to widespread media attention and a hearing in front of the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB determined the accident was a result of driver fatigue.

Tragically, bus accidents continue to be a serious concern. Just yesterday, while many were celebrating the Fourth of July, a tour bus hit a guardrail in New York, injuring all 24 individuals on board. According to local news sources, an investigation into the cause of the accident is currently pending.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Schumer: Bill requires public bus-safety grades," July 1, 2012.

Topics: car accidents, bronx, distracted-driving, dot, fmcsa, ntsb, bus-accident

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