Authorities from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shut down the operations of over two dozen commercial bus companies this week due to serious public safety hazards. The companies were ordered to completely cease all operations, including ticket sales. About 233 bus routes will be affected.
The commercial bus industry transports at many people within the United States as the airline industry does, about 700 million passengers every year.
The shutdown affected a total of 26 companies, including 13 that had previously been ordered to stop operating but had continued.
"These businesses have been doing all they can to operate far below the accepted level of safety," said a spokesperson for a bus industry trade group.
Among the shocking ongoing safety hazards, government investigators found that the companies were not administering industry standard alcohol and drug tests to their drivers. They were also employing many drivers without proper commercial licenses.
The bus industry came under investigation after a series of deadly crashes along I-95, which spans most of the east coast from New York to Florida. One of the major crashes which injured 32 people and caused 15 deaths involved a driver whose driving privileges had been suspended 18 times within the past 20 years.
A tragedy at that level begs the question of why that person was still on the road and who was ultimately responsible. It is likely that both the bus company and government regulators fell short on their duty to identify and remove a dangerous driver from the commercial sector.
Source: Fox News, "Government crackdown on unsafe bus companies," May 31, 2012.