The Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced a partnership with 13 states to conduct surprise inspections at popular vacation destinations. The new inspections come as recent bus accidents in New York, New Jersey and Arizona provided reminders that safety regulations must be stiffened.

In 2009 alone, the FMCSA conducted over 130,000 inspections, which led to 4.3 percent of bus drivers and 7.6 percent of buses being put out of service due to safety and hours-of-service violations. These new inspections should should lead to still more violators being uncovered, which should help protect the reported 750 million passengers who utilize motorcoach transportation every year.

Beyond inspections, the FMCSA also plans to standardize testing and training of drivers. The new tests will help prevent testing fraud, while at the same time helping to better-equip new drivers to handle the responsibility of transporting large numbers of passengers. The training sessions will consist of 80 hours of instruction, including 32 hours of behind-the-wheel experience.

[Source: DOT Fast Lane]

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