According to a report published in the Journal News on April 10, 1011, approximately 15% of motorcoach carriers in New York State have been cited for safety problems over the last 20 years. Of the five issues that are examined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the most common issues are fatigued driving and driver fitness. The other three areas which the FMCSA looks at are vehicle maintenance, unsafe driving and controlled substances/alcohol. When a motorcoach carrier is found to have a safety violation, they are issued an alert. The report establishes that of the 386 carriers in New York, 56 companies were issued an alert, or 14.5 %, with 31 alerts issued for fatigued driving and 17 for driver fitness.
The enhanced attention comes after the two fatal accidents involving buses last month, including the March 12 accident on I-95 which killed 15 and injured 17 seriously, and the March 14 accident on the New Jersey Turnpike which killed two, including the driver. Nationwide, approximately 12% of carriers have received an alert. The Federal Transportation Safety Board, which has no regulatory authority to implement its recommendations, alleges that its’ recommendations have not been followed by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the FMCSA. The recommendations were, among others, to: install electronic onboard data recorders; design stronger bus roofs and windows to prevent passengers from being ejected in a rollover crash; and more stringent vehicle inspections.
In March, New York Senators Gillibrand and Schumer sponsored legislation, long overdue, which would require seat belts for all passengers; more driver training; stronger roofs; anti-eject windows; tougher vehicle inspections and medical exams for drivers. With the conservative and pro-business environment that prevails in the Senate in 2011, this writer has serious doubts as to whether such common sense measures will be implemented.
Contact the Westchester County Personal Injury Lawyers online or toll free at 888-761-7633 if you or a loved one is injured in a serious car crash, bus accident; truck accident or other type of accident, for a free consultation with an experienced trial attorney who will fight the insurance companies from the inception of the case to its conclusion to maximize your compensation for your injuries, lost earnings, medical and hospital expenses and loss of enjoyment of life.