After a devastating year of fatal bus crashes in New York last year, lawmakers decided to earmark $1 million of the state’s budget to improve bus safety. Instead of inspecting a every bus several times each year, the new system will use a performance-based approach to identify bus companies with the worst safety records and target those companies for increased inspections. Every company will still receive two inspections per year however, regardless of their safety record.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo applauds the changes and said the increased enforcement and additional manpower will allow the state to crack down on some of the worst offenders that repeatedly put passengers and others on the road at risk. After the number of fatal bus accidents last year the Governor had hastened inspections and added unannounced inspections.
After repeatedly failing the state’s inspections, operating licenses for eight tour and charter bus companies were suspended, removing 100 of their buses from active service. Prior to the increased inspections, the New York Department of Transportation was scheduling 160,000 bus inspections each year.
In March of last year, a bus returning from a casino in Connecticut tipped over and collided with a pole ripping the roof off the bus and killing 15 people. At the time of crash the driver had been speeding close to 80 miles per hour. After a federal investigation discovered the driver of that bus had previously been incarcerated for grand larceny and manslaughter the Governor called for an investigation into how this man was able to get a commercial driver’s license.
In another fatal bus crash in October of 2011, a New York Trailways bus rear-ended a truck in Sloatsburg killing eight people. After the spate of crashes last year, the Department of Transportation performed 2,000 surprise roadside inspections this spring, resulting in the state police issuing 197 tickets. A total of 173 bus drivers and over 140 buses were also removed from service during those inspections.
With the advent of spring and summer upon us there will be an increase in college students and tourists riding buses so the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration came out with a cool new app for iPhones and iPads called the SaferBus app. The application is a free download on iTunes store or the FMSCA website titled “Look Before You Book.” It lets consumers check a company’s safety record before purchasing a bus ticket from them.
Source: Lohud.com, “N.Y. to do more safety checks of buses,” April 9, 2012