Accidents Raise Concerns about Commercial Bus Inspections

Thursday, April 05, 2012

According to an investigation by the Associated Press, many of the bus accidents that have occurred recently in California and other states can be traced to a lack of oversight over the companies that perform inspections of these fleets.

According to regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, all commercial vehicles like trucks and buses must be inspected regularly. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration gives these companies a number of choices for them to get their inspections conducted. Inspections can be conducted by state safety agencies, or even private garages. Many companies get their inspections conducted by private companies that inspect these vehicles for a fee.

In a situation like this, Los Angeles bus accident lawyers find that there's no regulation over the kind of companies that perform these inspections. More than 50% of states have no inspection requirements, and motor coach carriers have the discretion to make decisions about inspections themselves. There is also no requirement that private garages be subjected to oversight. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that its hands are tied. The agency does not have the resources to oversee private commercial vehicle inspection companies.

Investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board have found that inadequate inspections may have been one of the causes of a deadly Texas bus accident in 2009 that killed 17 people and injured dozens of others. The bus in that case had been inspected by a local bus inspection company, but the inspection had been incomplete. The inspection company gave a clean chit to the bus, even though the bus had defects. Barely a week after the inspection, the bus suffered a blown-out tire, and flipped over. Investigations later found that the bus company also had a long record of safety violations.


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