Earlier this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association took rash action to improve traffic safety on roads and highways in Pittsburgh and throughout the state. Following findings of improper licensing and noncompliance with federal safety standards, the agency effectively shut down 26 commercial bus companies, 11 of which were based in Pennsylvania.
The recent focus on commercial bus safety was reportedly motivated by the rash of fatal bus accidents that has plagued the northeast in recent years. Following those crashes, the FMCSA launched a one-year investigation into bus companies that were operating in violation of federal safety standards. Federal investigators worked with state agencies such as the Pennsylvania Bus Association to determine whether bus companies and drivers were complying with laws and standards, and to penalize those that weren't.
The state and federal investigators reportedly found "multiple patterns of serious safety violations" by commercial bus companies that "deliberately structured their operations to dodge federal law." Specifically, the investigation found that the companies hired drivers who did not have valid commercial driver's licenses or the requisite medical qualification certificates, that the companies did not properly drug test their drivers, that the drivers operated buses long past the maximum driving time limits, and that the buses were "mechanically unsafe" and in need of significant repair.
Federal officials believe that the shutdown of the companies will go a long way to promote and increase safety on northeast roads. It is estimated that about 2,000 people traveled on those companies' buses every single day, unaware of the potential danger they were in.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, "Like FMCSA, Pennsylvania Bus Association Values Safety," June 14, 2012