U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced new tour bus safety measures that could make it a lot more difficult for companies to operate their fleets in an unsafe manner. Among the sweeping changes are a requirement for tour bus companies to pass a safety audit before receiving permission to operate. The audit will include a safety exam of both the drivers and vehicles, in addition to an interview with the owners of the company. Current laws permit companies to operate for up to 18 months without a safety evaluation.

The federal agency also finalized a proposal to tighten requirements for offering a commercial driver's license. The new license can be obtained only after obtaining a learner's permit, and all states issuing the test will need to use a federal testing system.

While the new operating and testing procedures will help ensure the safety of the estimated 700 million passengers who utilize tour buses every year, several bus safety standards have still not been announced. The Transportation Department is hoping to add requirements that new buses have seat belts and stronger roofs and windows to prevent passengers from being ejected in a roll-over accident.

The renewed interest in tour bus safety came after a string of accidents, including a March 12 crash in New York that lead to the death of 15 passengers. The bus, which was traveling at the maximum speed of 78 miles per hour, fell off an elevated highway and hit a utility pole.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Our deficit is out of control, we're fighting 3 wars, illegals pour across the border at will. Drugs are every where. Unemployment is 9% unofficial - more like 22%, 1 in 7 is on food stamps, 1/3 of Americans receive government assistance or are on SS. The federal government is seizing our civil liberties at will. And on and on. And this is what they worry about? Amazing. LaHood is out to make a name for himself and that's it. Nader #2. A complete clueless ego maniac.
      • 4 Years Ago
      How did I predict the causes behind that incident ? Because it had happened before !!! Budget bus line, mostly Asians going to casinos, poorly maintained bus , incompitant driver. They seemed to forget the past incidents ! This latest never should have gotten a CDL !
      The Box
      • 4 Years Ago
      All I ask is for a law to keep them out of the HOV/carpool lanes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @The Box
        buses are high ocupancy vehicles they belong there. they arent for the use of just passenger cars
      William Daniels
      • 4 Years Ago
      The best safety regulation is an enforceable requirement that all bus operators maintain sufficient insurance against death and serious injury. The old $1million policy standard is no longer adequate in a modern economy and accident victims should be protected. Plus, insurance companies are a first line of safety defense, since they have an economic incentive to enforce minimum operating standards in order to avoid claims. If we truly want safer transportation for our seniors and children (the primary users of these buses), then let's hold operators responsible for the damage they cause. Government can't do the job and we don't want to pay for larger bureaucracies anyways. Let the private sector operate in a free market. I'll trust a for profit insurance carrier to enforce standards over government any day, they don't want to pay claims after all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I find it amusing that they choose a picture of Fung Wah bus lines, the most notorious and unsafe bus company!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Am I the only one here that finds it strange that nobody is talking about requiring seat belts in school buses?
      • 4 Years Ago
      You mean bus companiesdidn't have to pass a safety audit before receiving permission to operate before? WTF?...
      • 4 Years Ago
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