Intercity buses that pick up passengers from curbside are up to seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. A study by the National Transportation Safety Board finds that these buses may also have more driver violations.
The National Transportation Safety Board report focused on safety of motor coach carriers that conduct trips that begin and end at a particular location other than a bus terminal. The report focused on more than 122 bus companies, and found that between January 2005 to March 2011, curbside buses were involved in 1.4 fatal accidents per 100 vehicles. That is about seven times the rate for conventional terminal-based carriers.
Curbside bus companies are also much more likely to have driver violations, including those linked to driver fatigue and fitness levels. Out-of-service rates for curbside bus carriers were 13.8 per 100 vehicles. For conventional carriers, it was just under 5 per 100 vehicles.
The National Transportation Safety Board report also focused on the increasing challenge that federal commercial carrier safety agencies face in maintaining motor coach safety. One of the challenges has been the few inspectors that federal agencies have at their disposal to conduct compliance reviews and audits of motor carriers. There are currently just over 2,300 state and federal inspectors to inspect more than 53,000 buses.
Additionally, there are increasing challenges from changing business models within the bus industry. For instance, many consumers buy their tickets online, and may not even be aware of the bus company that they are using. These online ticket brokers are not regulated by federal agencies, and therefore, are not required to furnish the names of bus companies.
Besides these challenges, there are other problems that are all too familiar to Los Angeles bus accident lawyers. These include continuing issues with bus companies that continue to operate under an assumed name and address soon after they have been shut down. Such illegal activities have been linked to a fatal accident in New York which triggered the NTSB report.