Agency Head Wants More Power over Unsafe Buses

A House hearing on Capitol Hill earlier this month addressed tougher regulations on bus companies. The Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Anne Ferro, asked legislators to give her agency more power to crack down on bus companies in the long distance bus industry.

Ms. Ferro said that 2011 has been the worst period for motorcoach safety, with 25 deaths resulting from six bus accidents. Ferro told the panel about a Michigan bus company that carried passengers in the cargo holds in the bottom of their buses. Another bus company in North Carolina employed unqualified drivers.

Ferro proposed a measure that her agency inspect every long distance bus company once a year, and allowing the agency to do surprise safety stops on buses. She also suggested raising the fine for a safety violation from $2000.00 to $25,000. A representative of the United Motorcoach Association at the hearing said bus companies create jobs and the government should be wary of over-regulation.

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