New Measures Announced by U.S. Department of Transportation to Increase Passenger Bus Safety

On May 5, Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced new measures the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is implementing to help guarantee that bus passengers are traveling as safely as possible.

Now, the DOT will require more rigorous testing standards for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), as well as create new rules to reinforce the compliance of federal safety regulations by passenger carriers and their drivers. Additionally, along with state law enforcement, the FMCSA will conduct unannounced motorcoach inspections at popular travel destinations such as amusement parks, casinos, national parks, and sports event venues throughout the spring and summer seasons.

The FMCSA also announced a new rule which requires anyone who applies for a CDL to obtain a commercial driver’s learner’s permit (CLP) first. The new rule also makes it mandatory for all state licensing agencies to use a testing system for CDLs that meets the CDL knowledge and skill standards of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators criteria, as well as disallows the use of foreign language interpreters during testing to reduce the potential for fraud. Previously, testing for CDLs were not uniform across the U.S. and applicants for CDLs were not required to obtain a CLP before a CDL.

The DOT has also suggested several new additional policy proposals intended to set higher standards for passenger carrier safety, including a condition that would permit the DOT to have greater ability to take enforcement action against passenger carriers deemed to be unsafe “reincarnated” carriers by creating a federal standard that would help conclude whether a new carrier is actually the reincarnation of an older, unsafe carrier.

In addition, the DOT has proposed to make it mandatory for new motorcoach companies to go through a full safety audit before given operating authority by the DOT. The DOT has also proposed the revisal of a current law to guarantee that a driver’s CDL can be suspended or revoked following a drug or alcohol-related offense committed in a non-commercial vehicle. Lastly, the DOT has proposed that the penalty of $2,000 a day for passenger carriers that try to operate without authority from the DOT be increased to $25,000 a day.

The Philadelphia bus accident attorneys at Anapol Weiss are committed to helping those who have suffered an injury in a bus crash caused by the negligence of another. To learn how we can help you receive compensation for your injuries and accident-related losses, call 1-866-735-2792.

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