Bus Safety Inspection Regulations Severely Lacking
Buses are ubiquitous parts of the United States transportation system. Children take yellow buses to school, urban commuters ride city buses to and from work and many individuals use interstate private bus lines to travel across the country. Despite the widespread use of buses, many states have inadequate safety inspection requirements for commercial buses. Now, safety advocates and agencies are calling on Congress and the states to tighten up safety inspection protocols.
How safety inspections of buses are conducted is determined by each state. Federal law requires that buses are inspected annually, but more than 50 percent of states do not regulate what is required during a safety inspection, leaving it up to the motor carrier companies to come up with the requirements themselves.
In the states that do regulate bus safety inspections, the typical safety assessment is conducted by state inspectors, private garages or even the bus companies themselves. In some cases, a random roadside inspection may count as a bus’s annual safety inspection. In many states where inspections are completed at private garages, there is little oversight or quality control by state officials.
Unfortunately, these lax safety inspection regulations result in fatal accidents. Three of the deadliest bus crashes killed 40 people in Texas, Illinois and Mississippi. These tragedies prompted the National Transportation Safety Board to look into bus safety inspections and encourage lawmakers to develop laws for better oversight.
The U.S. Senate has already approved an initiative to investigate bus safety inspection programs, but the legislation has hit an obstacle in the House. Until Congress and safety agencies move to better regulate and oversee bus safety inspections, individuals dependent on buses for transportation will “be subject to second-class safety standards,” according to Jacqueline Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
In New York, state inspectors put buses through annual 400-point safety inspections. There are more than 120 inspectors across the Empire State and they perform 154,000 inspections and re-inspections on New York buses each year.
New York personal injury lawyers are able to help those injured in a bus accident obtain the compensation to which they are entitled. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a bus accident and believe a safety deficiency is to blame, please consult with an experienced Bronx personal injury lawyer.