Each year, millions of individuals ride on discount tour busses. However, the federal government has very few regulations to protect the safety of those individuals. Passengers are not required to wear seatbelts, and the few safety rules that are enforced are based on inaccurate driver logbooks.
After a discount bus caused a fatal accident on I-95, New York has focused an increasing amount of attention to the safety issues involved with the popular form of transportation.
The tour bus accident claimed the lives of 15 individuals. Now, New York Senator Charles E. Schumer is working with the National Transportation Safety Board to determine whether the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is doing enough to ensure the safety of passengers.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, buses must follow basic safety regulations and be driven by individuals who drive no more than 10 hours during a 15-hour workday. State officials enforce the rules randomly, usually at common chartered bus destinations such as casinos and amusement parks.
In order to drive a discount tour bus, individuals must only acquire a commercial driver’s license, which some say is too easy to obtain.
The driver of the bus involved in the I-95 crash had multiple run-ins with the law, including a manslaughter charge from 1990 and a charge for driving with a suspended license in 2003. The man also spent four years in prison after he was convicted of stealing nearly $84,000.
Although various agencies in New York are now looking into regulations to improve the safety of passengers on discount busses, their efforts come a little late. Hopefully they will be able to implement changes before the lack of regulations injures more innocent victims.
Source: The New York Times, “Lax Rules for Discount Buses Cited After I-95 Crash,” Michael M. Grynbaum and Patrick McGeehan, 14 March 2011