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NTSB Reports that Unsafe Buses Are On The Road

By Minara El-Rahman on December 11, 2009 8:55 AM

AP reports that a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation shows that passenger buses that are subpar and unsafe are still making it out onto the road.

NTSB reports that their investigation of a rollover crash in Texas was due to a bus driver falling asleep, but also discovered that the bus company had been using legal loopholes in order to allow the operation of subpar buses on the road.

The entire NTSB investigation can be viewed here on their official site. As a result of the NTSB investigation, the NTSB issued the following recommendations in order to improve bus safety by ensuring that buses are compliant with necessary inspections:

  • Ensure that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration work in conjunction with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency to detect bus companies that have non-compliant buses
  • Develop a database that keeps track of non-compliant buses
  • Make that database available to vehicle registration agencies and to federal, state, and local enforcement inspection personnel
  • Update and distribute a "Driver Fatigue" video
  • Denying or revoking operating authority of bus companies that fail to disclose any previous operating history
  • Detecting reincarnated carriers that have been closed down before
  • Require that bus companies certify their OP 1(P) forms and initial MCS-150 form
  • Allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration the statutory power to suspend, revoke, or withdraw a bus company's operating authority if they operate subpar buses

The list goes on to mention more ways for federal agencies to catch bus companies that fail to operate buses that are compliant with federal quality standards.

The NTSB mentioned how the bus company involved in the Texas crash was just the tip of the iceberg. AP quotes Robert Sumwalt, one of the three NTSB board members, as saying: "I think that this accident is the mother of all shell games." It turns out that the bus company was previously known by another name. The bus company owner had to shut the previous bus company down because it lost its insurance back in 2003 due to fatal accident a year earlier in Mexico.

Here's hoping the NTSB makes bus safety a priority in 2010.

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