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More Funding Needed to Prevent Georgia Bus Accidents

Bus safety in the United States is a major concern, and unless the federal agency in charge of bus safety receives the funds it needs to conduct inspections, Atlanta bus accident attorneys expect the number of bus accidents around the country to increase. An increase in bus accidents will result in a substantial increase in wrongful deaths and serious personal injuries.The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration chief is calling on lawmakers to earmark more funds for the agency to conduct inspections and carry out a number of other bus safety initiatives.

Currently, the agency lacks sufficient personnel to conduct inspections of the long-distance bus industry in the country.According to Ferro, who was speaking before a congressional hearing, what her agency would like to do is inspect every long-distance bus at least once every year.She would also like for inspectors to conduct surprise safety checks.For that, the agency needs more funding and more personnel.

Ferro also wants the current DOT fee for bus operators to be hiked from its current $300.She also wants to increase the fine for bus safety violations from $2,000 currently, to $25,000. The hearing was attended by representatives of the bus industry.These groups are not likely to embrace any of these proposals with open arms.

At the hearing, Ferro had sobering statistics for Atlanta bus accident attorneys and anyone concerned with bus safety in the country.According to her, 2011 had been a terrible year for bus safety, with a total of six major accidents around the country resulting in 25 deaths.These accidents also caused dozens of injuries.The agency desperately needs the funds necessary to conduct frequent inspections of buses and keep unsafe operators off the road.

In fact, the agency likely needs more funds than it has requested. The requested funds would help keep unsafe buses off the road, but probably would not have the level of impact needed to identify unsafe drivers. Driver errors is one of the central causes of bus accidents. Unfortunately, many of the “lower end” bus companies fail to run adequate background checks on the drivers they hire or they choose to turn a blind eye to drivers with unsafe records. Providing the agency with a more significant funding increase would go a long way to addressing the problem of unsafe drivers.

The request for increased fines for bus safety violations is long overdue. However, the fines are simply not enough. Rather, the licenses of bus companies need to be revoked with more regularity if they are found to employ unsafe drivers or to operate unsafe buses. In the end, these buses have a tremendous potential to harm both their passengers and innocent motorists and pedestrians. If operators fail to run a safe company, they have no right to continue to exist.

Although the Federal government can do a great deal to address bus safety, the job is not their responsibility alone. State and local governments also have a significant role to play. Public service commissions as well as law enforcement agencies can do a great deal to identify unsafe drivers, buses and companies. Federal, State, and local government agencies need to work in a coordinated fashion to protect the public the danger of unsafe bus operators.

http://transportationnation.org/2011/06/13/fed-regulator-tells-congress-she-needs-more-authority-to-crack-down-on-unsafe-buses/