ABA recently sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Sept. 22, regarding the fatal bus accident in New York City on Sept. 18. In the letter, ABAsaid:
“The ABA believes more can be done to identify and then act on these early warning signs, target resources and stop reckless and unsafe passenger operators, before tragedy strikes. While we know that Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and other New York City and New York State enforcement officials will continue to scrutinize the industry after such an event, all too often we see these increased enforcement activities directed at well-run safe companies simply because they are easier to find. Meanwhile, the marginal companies, who put the traveling public at risk, continue to operate under the radar and under the cloak of darkness.
“I reach out today to begin forging a stronger partnership between our Association and the reputable motorcoach industry and the Department, to accomplish the goal of ensuring the motorcoach industry remains the safest form of surface transportation. The ABA has a strong history of supporting the safety oversight role of the Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and its objective to shut down unsafe operators. We were active participants in the development and implementation of the 2008 Motorcoach Safety Action Plan and its updates, which provided a road map to pair safety research, rulemaking and enforcement activities with outreach. However, we need to further strengthen our relationship, as only through our collective efforts will progress be made toward making our roads safer for all travelers.
“For this purpose, I reach out to you to convene a meeting for the explicit purpose of exploring ways for ABA and the Department to work more closely together on motorcoach safety and specifically, identifying warning signs to stop unsafe operators from operating.”
To be clear, at no point in this letter does ABA ask for more regulation for our industry. What ABA asks for and offers is to work with the DOT and FMCSA to remove bad companies from our roads. We want FMCSA to stop looking at good companies with high safety records because they are easy to find, and work with us to identify those who cause a blight on one of the safest modes of transportation. We are a safe industry and we want to ensure when each passenger gets on a motorcoach they can feel certain that they will have a safe and enjoyable experience.