Safety on our nation’s highways is a top priority for the Department of Transportation. And this is true whether travelers are driving themselves or using motor carriers.
That’s why Bill Bronrott, Deputy Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), rode the bus to Philadelphia last weekend to speak to the American Bus Assocation's "Bus Industry Safety Council" (BISC).
The Council's mission, "to develop and promote methods, materials, and procedures to improve motorcoach safety," makes BISC a natural partner in FMCSA's own safety efforts.
By focusing on three core safety principles, FMCSA and the American Bus Association have worked effectively toward a safer motorcoach industry. And in 2009, deaths in bus-related crashes reached an all-time low.
Raise the safety bar to enter the motorcoach industry
It’s essential to weed out bad actors. Our vetting program investigates all applications for new passenger carriers. This helps prevent unsafe chameleon carriers from trying to evade our safety rules and regulations by coming back under a new name. We have received 2,426 passenger carrier applications since this program began in 2008. And of those applications, we dismissed 352, with another 35 applicants withdrawing vountarily from the process and its scrutiny.
Maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry
Each year, FMCSA and our state and local law enforcement partners conduct an average of 1,200 reviews of motorcoach companies. And these reviews subject carriers' safety practices to vigorous examination.
Remove high risk drivers and carriers from operating
The most recent nationwide passenger carrier safety strike force sweep took place in late August. Over 5,600 safety inspections led to more than 900 motorcoaches being taken out of service.
Those are just a few of the initiatives Deputy Administrator Bronrott discussed with the Bus Industry Safety Council. And we know that the American Bus Association supports those initiatives and our safety-first mission.
Safety can only be achieved by all of us working together. Maintaining buses, training drivers, and even reminding passengers of their safety responsibilities onboard the bus all contribute to that goal. Millions of American travelers depend on buses to get to where they need to go safely and efficiently. And the majority of passenger carriers who operate these buses have been good safety partners with DOT.
Together, we owe it to the increasing number of people who rely on passenger carriers to make sure that every motorcoach and every operator is safe. And FMCSA will continue working toward greater bus safety as if lives depend on it--because they do.