The National Transportation Safety Board is concerned that inspections of trucks and tour buses are not being properly carried out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a problem that could have severe safety ramifications should the vehicles they’re responsible for overseeing be involved in some type of crash.
This development comes on the heels of a slew of accidents that led to various injuries and fatalities. Four accidents in particular, one of which took place in California, prompted a second look by the NTSB, which found that the inspections carried out by the FMCSA may not have been adequate. Those accidents led to 83 injuries and 25 fatalities in total.
With regard to the incident in California, the bus that eventually overturned reportedly suffered from a brake failure issue. The California Highway Patrol deduced that a safety inspection by the FMCSA should have been able to spot the potentially defective brakes prior to the accident. A visit to the operator’s San Diego facilities failed to prompt a bus examination despite numerous mechanical citations in the company’s past.
The FMCSA has defended its results by pointing out that their investigative efforts have led to a threefold increase in the number of drivers and buses pulled out of commission in the past few years. Still, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety’s president notes that the findings of the NTSB are disturbing given the implications for public safety.