December 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Year after year, motor carrier entities continue to skirt safety regulations, and those failing to abide by these laws have caused injuries and deaths to passengers.
Within the past few years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal agency tasked with regulating the commercial bus and trucking industry, has taken action and shut down many of these operators. According to a spokeswoman for the FMCSA, the agency has shut down over 100 bus and truck operators within the last three years.
However, the National Transportation Safety Board, an independent governmental agency in charge of investigating transportation accidents
, indicates that new information recently surfaced that shows federal officials may not be doing enough. Some entities presently violating safety regulations are slipping through the cracks.
The need for more oversight
According to the latest reports, while commercial trucking accidents as well as passenger vehicle accidents seemed to be tapering, auto accidents involving motor carriers or buses have increased.
Further, investigative efforts reveal that the operators involved in the four deadly bus accidents that killed 25 passengers last year were in serious violation of federal regulations. Yet, the FMCSA was either unaware of the violations or simply ignored them.
In one instance last June, a truck driver rear-ended a car that burst into flames killing two passengers and injuring six others involved in the collision. An investigation revealed that the driver was not only speeding, but working 10 hours more than the allotted 70 hour maximum workweek time under federal law. Information shows that despite the FMCSA's knowledge about this particular driver's hours-of-service, or HOS violation, the last inspection they conducted was nominal.
In another one of the four deadly crashes, a bus was descending a mountain road located in California and was unable to stop. The bus rear-ended a vehicle and also caused a collision with a pickup truck towing a trailer. Seven passengers aboard the bus were killed as well as the driver of the pickup truck.
An investigation revealed that the bus had defective breaks and other "numerous mechanical problems." The FMCSA conducted a review of the motor carrier line, but failed to inspect any specific buses or review business records.
The NTSB indicates that the 2012 deadly bus accidents have sparked awareness about the "oversight of motor carrier operations."
Although the board has no authority to mandate new regulations, they have seriously recommended that the FMCSA conduct more thorough audits and "crack down before crashes occur, not just after high-visibility events" to mitigate future accidents.
Article provided by Woodruff, Johnson & Palermo Injury Law Offices
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