DOT conducts thousands of surprise passenger carrier safety inspections

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The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday, May 27, announced that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and its state and local law enforcement partners conducted more than 3,000 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections over a two-week period in May that resulted in 442 unsafe buses or drivers being removed from the nation’s roadways.

DOT says the strike force issued out-of-service citations to 127 drivers and 315 vehicles during the unannounced inspections that took place from May 1-15. “During this heavy summer travel season, we will remain alert and remove from our roads any passenger bus or driver that places motorists at risk,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

In addition to the strike force inspections, FMCSA and state safety investigators initiated 38 full safety compliance reviews on commercial passenger bus companies to determine their safety rating. “The public deserves safe passenger bus transportation every ride,” says FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “FMCSA and its law enforcement partners will not rest until we weed out every unsafe passenger carrier and driver. Our ongoing strike force inspections are essential to protecting motorists and reaching our goal of zero fatalities involving commercial vehicles.”

FMCSA says that over the past five years it has doubled the number of unannounced bus safety inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies. Roadside safety inspections of motorcoaches jumped from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 in 2010, while compliance reviews rose from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.

DOT says it will continue to seek new rules to strengthen passenger carrier and driver compliance with federal safety regulations, and empower consumers to review safety records of bus companies before booking.