October 31, 2014

UTU supports crack down on unsafe bus carriers

The UTU joined other affiliates of the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO on Jan. 14 in submitting comments on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Patterns of Safety Violations by Motor Carrier Management. 

Bus operators that blatantly and repeatedly disregard federal safety laws should have their operating authority revoked or suspended, the TTD said in its comments.

“With the rise of unsafe bus carriers that under previous Administrations managed to evade federal safety regulators, we have made it a priority to remove bad actors in the bus industry from our roads,” the TTD said. “This crack down will lead to safer bus transportation for the American people.”

The proposed rule sets procedures to suspend or revoke the operating authority of bus carriers that demonstrate a pattern of willful disregard for safety regulations, and establishes stiffer penalties for noncompliance. The rule also goes after those ordered out-of-service by the DOT from simply re-applying for operating authority under a new name, a common practice according to FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.

The TTD and its affiliates have long argued for increasing enforcement of federal safety regulations and cracking down on motor carriers that try to evade compliance.

In May 2012, the FMCSA ordered 26 curbside bus operators (those that pick up and drop off on city streets, not from an established bus terminal) to discontinue service because of their threat to public safety. FMCSA found that each carrier had committed several offenses.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Administrator Ferro have demonstrated that improving transportation safety has been the top priority on their watch, particularly by proposing rules that will strengthen operating and enforcement standards and ensure that unsafe bus operators are taken off the road.

Besides the UTU, the TTD represents 30 other affiliated unions, including several that represent workers who operate over-the-road buses and other commercial motor vehicles.

To read the TTD’s complete comments, click here.