|FMCSA to Target Bus Safety Inspections with Operation Safe Driver|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Tuesday, 06 October 2009 13:55|
The National School Transportation Association said in its newsletter published today that an upcoming North America vehicle safety initiative could be a rude awakening to operators in 27 states that utilize annual school bus inspections not recognized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, 88 percent of large truck crashes result from driver error. It is partnering with FMCSA and state, provincial and local law enforcement and the bus and truck industry to hold Operation Safe Driver during the week of Oct. 18, which coincides with School Bus Safety Week.
In its second year of existence, inspection and educational activities will be held across the United States, Canada and Mexico to increase safety awareness. A spokesman for CVSA said Operation Safe Driver is as much an outreach program calling attention to school bus safety as it is an enforcement activity.
“It’s not something to be feared,” he said.
Instead, there are planned traffic stops to target such violations as speeding and aggressive driving. There may be some roadside inspections of school buses engaged in interstate activity trips, with specific policies governed by local jurisdictions, but another CVSA spokesman said there were no known plans for any school-bus specific actions.
Still, NSTA told members that those carriers in the 27 states that don’t currently have in place annual school bus and motorcoach inspections that meet Department of Transportation requirements for periodic inspections “may be in for an unpleasant surprise.” States with approved annual inspections are: Alabama; California; Connecticut; District of Columbia, Hawaii; Illinois; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; and Wisconsin.
NSTA added a suggestion that members who operate in one of those states should ensure that they are performing their own own annual inspections under the DOT rules.
“Be sure that the technician doing the inspection has at least one year’s experience or combination of experience and training, and that all items in the DOT list are checked off,” NSTA wrote.
Operation Safe Student was held in May and concentrated on school buses at popular activity trip destinations. More than 1,000 school buses and drivers were inspected with 5 percent being placed out of service. FMCSA also fined one school bus company $83,000 for multiple violations.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 11:53|