Two major bus accidents in New York have prompted state officials to beef up the bus safety inspection program. A March 2011 crash on I-95 in the Bronx killed 15 people as they were returning from a trip to a Connecticut casino. In October of 2011, a Trailways bus crashed on the New York State Thruway in Rockland County, injuring eight.
Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended the operating licenses of eight bus companies after they failed repeated safety inspections. Buses from these companies had failed at least three roadside inspections before being suspended.
The New York Department of Transportation made 2,000 surprise inspections along state roadways after the March crash, resulting in 173 bus drivers and 143 buses being removed from the road. Problems related to the backgrounds and training of many drivers were uncovered during the surprise inspections; some drivers had licenses under different names and several had criminal records.
The bus driver in the Bronx crash was one of these; he had been imprisoned for manslaughter and grand larceny. The governor called for an investigation into licensing procedures.
The new bus inspection program will target companies with the worst safety records. Previously, the inspection system inspected all busses at the same rate – usually several times per year. With the change, bus companies with poor safety records will be inspected more frequently. However, all buses will receive at least two inspections every year. The goal of the enhanced safety program is to get unsafe buses off the road before they are involved in accidents.
Source: lohud.com, “N.Y. to do more safety checks of buses,” Apr. 9, 2012.