One of the hardest things humans seem to face is change. We get so used to doing something that it’s hard to make adjustments even when it’s found that it could be unsafe. These changes are particularly slow when there’s a perception that it might (not will) cost money. This is one of the obstacles the US Department of Transportation and particularly the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has run into as of late.
Last year the FMCSA introduced a program called “Compliance, Safety, Accountability” (CSA). The program comes on the heels of some well-publicized commercial bus accidents that resulted in multiples deaths and numerous personal injuries. These highlighted the need for more safety measures in the commercial carrier industry, but naturally, there has been resistance that may be more economically driven than protecting the passengers that the drivers and charter companies are responsible for protecting.
Commercial Bus Safety Research
With more than 100,000 bus crashes amongst school, transit, and commercial, per year and most of these vehicles devoid of seat belts, safety has become a giant concern for government regulators and advocates focused on safety. That’s why CSA was implemented. Not only is it meant to educate drivers and the companies they work for, but also hold them accountable for safety issues that may put both the driver and passengers in jeopardy.
- Brake checks
- Tire checks
- Proper training
- Seat belts
- Passenger safety enforcement
- Luggage safety
- Proper weather procedures
- Strict adherence to speed and distracted driving laws
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) conducted an extensive survey collected from 695 motor carriers from around the country. After much anticipation the organization finally released the report detailing the extent to which CSA has impacted the daily operations of commercial bus and trucking companies.
More importantly (and telling) the report analyzes and describes bus company and trucking company attitudes toward and comprehension of the FMCSA’s program. What the report shows is the industry’s lack of desire to comply with the program and take passenger safety seriously.
The report found:
- More than 70% of the carriers found absolutely no safety concerns with the previous system.
- Nearly all carriers implement technology without influence from the system and will continue to do so. The three main systems that they implemented were:
- Onboard recorders
- Speed limiters
- Tire pressure monitoring systems
- On a positive not, more than half of the carriers decided to start prescreening their drivers for criminal records.
- The vast majority didn’t want the survey information shared with the public.
Commercial Bus Safety Technology
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah Hersman said her five-year-old minivan has more advanced safety technology than many large buses, also known as motor coaches. She added, “The technology does exist and it’s important that it be applied to the vehicles most in need of it.”
Technology such as:
- Proximity (blind spot) sensors
- Distance sensors
- Vehicle-to-vehicle communication
- GPS crash detection
- Severe weather brake and traction sensors
- Vehicle drift warning
These new strides in vehicle technology prevents potential bus accidents and make it more likely that passengers will survive dangerous rollover accidents. However, government regulators have failed to implement safety recommendations made by bus safety advocates and some officials within the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) that in some case stretch back decades.
Seattle Bus Accident Lawyer
It is very important that trucking companies and bus carriers are on board with the new rules and technology surrounding their industry because as you can see, they have already been surpassed by the public sector with regards to road safety standards. This does not bode well for their industry that is already plagued with lawsuits due to safety issues with both poorly maintained equipment, poorly trained drivers, and rampant disregard for standardized rules surrounding breaks and distracted driving.
If you or someone you know has sustained a personal injury in a bus accident some of the best advice you can get is to seek legal council from a law firm that is successful in bus accident litigation. Call Phillips Law Firm for a consultation.