FMCSA conducts strike forces to improve bus safety

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Monday, June 22, announced the results of its spring passenger carrier strike force initiative, Operation Safe Student, carried out in all 50 states and U.S. territories from May 8 to May 21. Held during the peak season of increased student fieldtrip activities, Operation Safe Student used federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to conduct thousands of passenger carrier safety inspections at popular travel destinations nationwide.

Overall, FMCSA says enforcement officials performed about 8,700 roadside inspections, which resulted in more than 650 buses and 225 drivers placed out-of-service for noncompliance with federal regulations; in addition, more than 665 bus companies were contacted for onsite comprehensive compliance reviews. Out-of-service vehicles and drivers are prohibited from operating until critical safety violations are remedied.

“Strike forces are just one of several comprehensive strategies we use throughout the year to ensure motor coaches, buses and other passenger carriers are operating safely and in compliance with federal regulations on our roads and highways,” says FMCSA Acting Deputy Administrator Rose A. McMurray. “As part of our ongoing commitment, the FMCSA and its law enforcement partners are currently conducting strike forces at several of our most popular national parks. We will continue to execute an aggressive inspection and enforcement regimen that will further improve safety.”

FMCSA says the Operation Safe Student initiative is consistent with its mission to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. Each strike force is designed to remove unsafe vehicles and drivers from the road, capture vital data that identify high-risk carriers and provide multiple opportunities for states to facilitate inspections, as required by their Commercial Vehicle Safety Plans (CVSP).

Across the country on a daily basis, passenger carriers receive random roadside safety inspections. FMCSA says that in 2008 alone, the agency and its law enforcement partners performed nearly 150,000 bus inspections, of which 4.8 percent of drivers and 7.7 percent of vehicles were placed out-of-service. To further augment safety oversight, FMCSA says it also facilitates strike forces in the areas of household goods and drug and alcohol interdiction regionally and nationally.

FMCSA says it strongly encourages anyone considering passenger carrier transportation to access its website, www.ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/passenger/home.asp, to review the carriers’ safety records. If a passenger carrier vehicle is observed operating unsafely, FMCSA encourages anyone to report such incidents to its safety hotline at 888-368-7238 or online at https://nccdb.fmcsa.dot.gov/.