Bus companies shut down in continuing FMCSA probe

Next week’s Christmas holiday will see a number of people on the road, much like the travel days before Thanksgiving. For a number of bus companies, it will be a missed opportunity to make money transporting consumers to their destinations. Through “Operation Quick Strike” the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shut down a number of companies for their continued non-compliance with safety regulations.

The initiative, as reported by ABC News.com, stemmed from a rash of high-profile bus crashes caused in part by unchecked safety issues. The administration brought in additional investigators to expedite safety inspections. Instead of safety checks and follow-ups taking weeks to complete, they were now completed in a number of days. As such, non-compliant bus companies could be held accountable whereas in the past, they would get away with not following rules due to languishing inspections.

Besides the specter of fewer bus accidents in the holiday season and beyond, the additional inspections can have legal implications as well. If an offending bus company is sued by injured passengers after an accident, a shoddy safety record could be seen as the failure to use reasonable care in operating a motor vehicle. It could also be seen as evidence that unchecked mechanical defects were the proximate cause of the accident an ensuring injuries.

With nearly 700 million passengers taking buses each year, the competition among bus charter companies is intense. This means that there is a substantial amount of pressure to ensure that routes are staffed.  At the same time, it is imperative that bus companies adhere to federal safety regulations.

Source: ABC News.com, “Feds shut 52 unsafe bus companies,” Justin Pritchard, December 13, 2013