Last month, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne Ferro kicked off Roadcheck 2011, saying, "We will not tolerate unsafe carriers that endanger the public." Today, the FMCSA released numbers that prove it.
Thanks to stepped-up surprise inspections, full compliance reviews, and enforcement actions, DOT under the Obama Administration has issued as many imminent hazard orders placing unsafe bus and truck companies out of service as in the previous 10 years combined. Between 2000 and 2009, the FMCSA issued 14 imminent hazard orders placing unsafe carriers out of service. In just the last year and a half, we have already issued another 14.
In the past four months alone, we issued eight out-of-service orders. These orders immediately followed investigations that found carriers or drivers to have so flagrantly violated safety regulations that continuing operations would present imminent danger to passengers and to the public. For example, last month, we discovered a Michigan company transporting passengers in luggage compartments.
Roadside inspections of motorcoaches have jumped nearly 100 percent, from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 in 2010, while compliance reviews are up 128 percent, from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.
In May, FMCSA and its state and local law enforcement partners conducted more than 3,000 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections over a two-week period. This strike force removed 442 unsafe buses or drivers from the nation's roadways.
We can't afford to ignore companies that cut corners on safety any more than we can ignore carriers that commit outrageous safety violations. Any one of those cut corners could be the cause of a fatal crash. So, when we see carriers placing passengers at risk, we will continue using all of the tools at our disposal to get those carriers off our roadways.
And in May, we asked Congress to expand our toolkit to further ensure passenger safety. As Administrator Ferro said, "The public deserves safe bus services, and these measures will help us to better identify and swiftly weed out unsafe and irresponsible operators."
Look, we know that most of the nation's motorcoach carriers are safe operators, but we also know that some companies are not. Today, America's bus passengers can rest assured that we are working night and day to protect their safety.