In the wake of two tragic bus crashes in the state of New York that left 23 people dead in total, a new $1 million program has been launched to improve the process for safety inspection of buses. Rather than simply inspect each bus several times each year, the new program uses a performance-based system to identify the bus companies with the worst safety records and targets those companies for increased inspections - hopefully reducing New York bus accidents in the process. Regardless of their safety record, every bus company will receive at least two inspections per year.
The new inspection program was kick-started after some extremely egregious behavior by bus companies. In October 2011, a New York Trailways bus rear-ended a truck in Sloatsburg, killing eight people. A second, much worse, crash occurred in March 2012, when a bus returning from a Connecticut casino tipped over and collided with a pole, ripping the roof off of the bus and killing 15 people. It was revealed that the driver had been going almost 80 mph at the time of the crash, and a background check of the driver showed that he was a convicted felon. Following this accident, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation into how a convicted felon could obtain a commercial driver's license, and spurred the increased safety inspections.
Governor Cuomo stated on the record that increased enforcement as well as additional manpower would help get the problem under control, and the effects of this new program may be apparent already. Operating licenses for eight bus companies who had repeatedly failed safety inspections were suspended, removing 100 of their buses from New York roads. The New York Department of Transportation performed over 2000 surprise roadside inspections in the spring of 2012, resulting in 197 tickets, 173 bus drivers removed from service, and 140 buses taken off the road.
Roadside inspections can help avoid safety concerns that may lead to hazardous and dangerous conditions for residents. Crashes that cause injuries and fatalities are especially difficult for victims and families. Victims may be entitled to injury and lost wage benefits when injured due to the negligence or carelessness of another motorist.
Source: Times Union, "State has new path to bus safety," AP