All auto accidents can be serious, but the potential for injuries increases in bus accidents because of the number of people which could be affected. What might be just a simple fender bender between two passenger vehicles might result in injuries to numerous passengers if a bus is involved.
In addition to mass transit buses, Las Vegas sees plenty of tour buses which drop off and pick up tourists at the casinos on the Strip. And with the crash of a tour bus in New York in March (which was returning from a Connecticut casino) that killed 15 people, federal transportation officials are taking a closer look at bus companies – especially those who cater to tourists.
As a result, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has offered several proposals designed to make bus travel safer. These include:
- Safety audits, including interviews with owners and inspections of vehicles and driving records, for bus companies which must be completed before receiving a federal operating permit
- An increase in maximum daily fines for illegal bus operation from $2,000 to $25,000
- Streamlined processes to revoke the licenses of “rogue” tour bus operators who change their names after receiving citations
- Easier revocation of bus drivers’ licenses if they fail to pay imposed fines or violate drug and alcohol laws while driving passenger vehicles
- Establishment of a special bus drivers’ learners permit prior to full licensure
- The requirement that state licensing agencies meet federal standards
- Elimination of foreign-language interpreters to reduce fraud potential during testing
- More snap inspections of buses at casinos throughout the summer
Some tour bus companies may be put out by the new regulations which they must adhere to. But some operators in Las Vegas are pleased that the federal government is taking steps to eradicate “fly-by-night” bus companies who give the industry a bad name.
What do you think about these new federal proposals?