Crash investigators call for probe of government safety agency

Alabama residents who rely on tour or intercity buses may be interested to hear that, on Nov. 7, federal accident investigators called for a probe into the government agency responsible for ensuring the safety of commercial vehicles. Investigators alleged that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration inspectors are failing to do their job.

The call for action came after investigations into four tour bus and truck accidents that took the lives of 25 people revealed significant safety issues on the part of the bus and truck companies. One accident, for example, occurred after a California bus company had been given clearance by federal inspectors. The bus overturned last February near San Bernardino while transporting passengers from a ski resort. Seven passengers in the bus and a pickup driver were killed. When crash investigators from the California Highway Patrol inspected the accident, they discovered that all six breaks on the bus were defective. Other buses owned by the company also had serious mechanical defects.

In a statement made by the motor carrier administration, the number of companies and drivers that the agency has removed from roadways in the U.S. has more than tripled over just a three-year period. However, according to the report, tour and intercity buses carry approximately 700 million passengers a year. Dangerous bus drivers or defective buses pose a very real safety issue.

Companies are expected to hire drivers who follow the road laws and drive safely. As this report shows, not all drivers operate their vehicles safely, which could lead to bus or truck accidents. If mechanical problems or negligence on the part of the commercial driver caused the accident, the company that owns the bus or truck, not just the driver, may be liable for the accident.

Source: ABC News, "Gov't Oversight of Bus, Truck Industries Faulted", Joan Lowy, November 08, 2013

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