DOT Wants New Authority to Inspect Motorcoaches

Eight out-of-service orders in the past four months are part of FMCSA's increased efforts to promote safety in the industry, and DOT wants new tools to do even more.

Asking Congress to allow it to require new motorcoach companies to undergo a full safety audit before receiving operating authority is part of DOT's plan to ensure the industry is as safe as possible. DOT reported July 19 that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued 14 imminent hazard orders in the past two years to prevent carriers that pose an immediate risk to passengers from operating. FMCSA also issued eight out-of-service orders in the past four months to seven motorcoach companies.

DOT has asked Congress to approve a new procedure allowing FMCSA to conduct bus safety inspections at en route locations, such as rest stops; to require new motorcoach companies to undergo a full safety audit before receiving operating authority; and to raise the penalty for operating illegally or without authority from $2,000 per day to $25,000 per violation.

"I'm proud of FMCSA's efforts to crack down and take action on unsafe interstate bus and trucking companies," said Anne S. Ferro, FMCSA's administrator. "Our safety investigators, inspectors and state partners will continue demanding that motor carriers and their drivers adhere to safety requirements. While most of the industry operates safely, I also look forward to working with Congress to add new tools to prevent unsafe companies and drivers from operating."

DOT's "Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time" pre-trip checklist helps consumers review a bus company's safety record, safety rating, and DOT operating authority before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel. The checklist is available at FMCSA's Passenger Bus Safety website.

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