Congress Looks at Bus Safety Regulations

(from Reuters)

In May, a bus crash on Interstate 95 resulted in the deaths of four people, with 54 injured. According to the police, the bus ran off the road and overturned, coming to rest upside down on its roof. (Reuters)

In March, a bus also traveling on Interstate 95, this one returning to Manhattan from a Connecticut casino trip crashed in the Bronx, skidding into a highway sign post. The post entered through the front window and sliced the bus from front to back along the window line. Fifteen of the 31 passengers died, seven others were injured. (NBC New York)

Now, in a rare show of solidarity, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are trying to figure out how to crack down on rogue motor coach operators without over-regulating an industry made up predominantly of small businesses. According to an article in The Miami Herald, Anne S. Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the motor coach industry said that:

… she wants more regulatory authority over passenger bus companies, including in-route inspections and complete safety audits before buses hit the road. Federal officials also want to regulate online brokers, the websites that sell many low-cost, intercity tickets. And they want to increase penalties from $2,000 per violation to $25,000, she said.

However, not everyone is on-board with stronger regulations:

…bus industry representatives and some members of Congress said too much regulation would hurt legitimate, well-run companies. Small companies with fewer than 25 motor coaches made up 95 percent of the industry and accounted for about 40 percent of passenger miles traveled, according to a committee memo.

We believe that strong legislation is needed. Buses don’t provide passenger safety equipment–no seat belts, no air bags. The only way to keep passengers safe is to make sure that the vehicles are road-worthy and that the drivers are trained, licensed, sober, and rested. Unfortunately, high-quality vehicles and drivers are more expensive than cut-rate versions. We know how the free market system works–operators will choose low-cost over high-quality unless standards and mandatory inspections are required by legislation.

To read the full article about bus safety regulations, click here: http://www.miamiherald.com/.

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