Safety Board Issues Recommendations for Avoiding Bus Accidents

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) each year creates a “Most Wanted List.” The list raises awareness of the Board’s top priorities in advocating for better transportation safety. The current Most Wanted List includes recommendations for increasing bus safety.

Buses, by the numbers, are very safe. But because they carry large numbers of people – who often are not wearing seatbelts – a bus accident can result in many injuries or deaths.

The NTSB pointed out that much attention has been focused on the protection of passengers from injury in the event of a crash. But in this report, the board shifts focus to avoiding bus crashes in the first place. In order to do this, we need better oversight of drivers by the bus companies and better oversight of the companies by the government, the NTSB says.

Companies that operate buses should review a long and comprehensive driving history of potential new employees, according to the report. They should also use video recorders to assess driver performance and require drivers to get regular medical checkups to make sure they are fit to work. Drivers and their employers should work together to manage the risk of fatigue by setting responsible limits on hours of service.

The NTSB also recommends additional oversight of bus companies by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA should require new carriers to demonstrate their competence in safety before giving them the green light. And the FMCSA should develop methods for ensuring compliance in the event that a carrier is ordered to cease operations due to safety violations.

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