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FMCSA may not be keeping unsafe buses off Massachusetts' roads

Millions of people travel on commercial buses every year in the United States. Reports show tour and intercity buses have an estimated 700 million passengers each year, showing just how many people use buses as their main way of transportation for daily activities and longer trips. Many passengers don't think about the potential risks they face riding these buses, but a new report by the National Transportation Safety Board may have passengers second guessing all the time they spend on the bus. 

The NTSB recently reported that several commercial bus and truck accidents could have been prevented if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would have properly inspected and investigated commercial bus and truck companies. The NTSB said that the FMCSA failed to keep unsafe commercial vehicles and drivers off U.S. roads, which led to four accidents that resulted in 25 fatalities and 83 injuries. 

The NTSB reported that four accidents involving commercial buses and trucks could have been prevented if the FMCSA had inspected the vehicles and drivers to make sure they were safe to travel and carry passengers. One of the fatal bus crashes was caused by the brakes failing. Investigations after the bus accident found that the brakes on the bus were defective or inoperable at the time of the accident. 

The NTSB said that the FMSCA should have inspected this bus along with others a month before the crash since the bus company had previously been cited for several mechanical issues and safety violations during roadside inspections. If the FMCSA had inspected this company's buses, this accident may have been prevented as an inspection should have discovered that the brakes were too worn or defective to be on the road. 

The finding that the FMCSA may not be keeping unsafe buses from carrying passengers is a serious safety issue for bus passengers in Massachusetts. Bus passengers should not have to worry about being injured in an accident because the bus had mechanical issues or was being operated by an unsafe bus driver. All passengers on the road deserve to be protected from dangerous vehicles. Hopefully the report will lead to improved investigations and more enforcement of commercial bus policies to prevent dangerous bus accidents in the future. 

Source: The Republic, "NTSB faults safety oversight of bus, truck industries, citing deadly crashes in 4 states," Joan Lowy, Nov. 7, 2013

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