Alabama state troopers have joined a nationwide campaign to make passenger buses safer by focusing on bus drivers, who according to federal officials, caused 60% of the fatal motorcoach crashes from 1998 to 2008. During 2008, 26 people were injured in 182 motorcoach crashes in Alabama. There were also 156 crashes with property damage only, according to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Captain Jack Clark, who heads up commercial vehicle inspections for the troopers, plans to increase inspections of passenger buses and drivers from 145 in the 2009 fiscal year to 271 this year. Bus inspectors are using strike forces to saturate tourist spots to inspect motorcoaches and their drivers with an eye at catching tired drivers and parking unsafe buses.
According to DPS, there has been a large increase in bus traffic in Alabama over the past two years. With an increase in the number of trips being made, fatigue among bus drivers is a chief concern of inspectors. The inspectors say some drivers may be gambling at casinos in Mississippi where they dropped their passengers instead of resting. After passengers unload, drivers can do what they want and are not required to rest.
Drivers are supposed to drive a maximum of ten hours a day before resting for eight hours. The bigger issue is with the companies where drivers don’t keep log books of time spent driving and resting. Even those who keep log books may have drivers who don’t record accurate information. In actual litigation, we have found that driver fatigue is a major factor in many bus accidents.
It’s very important to make sure companies that go into the passenger bus business are competent and qualified. In Alabama, anyone can go into the passenger bus business by applying to the Alabama Public Service Commission for a license to operate within the state. But to get an interstate bus business license a person must apply for USDOT and FMSCA numbers, pass a commercial driver license test and incorporate the company. New bus company owners apply for a safety audit from DPS and FMSCA to be fully qualified to operate. The USDOT appears to be working hard to increase bus passenger safety. That’s certainly a good thing. It’s also good that Alabama is moving in the right direction in that area of concern. Bus passengers are entitled to know that both the state and federal government are working to make sure to that bus trips are safe trips.
Source: Birmingham News
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.