Management & Operations

FMCSA issues rule to improve small bus, van safety

Posted on August 12, 2003

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Monday disclosed requirements that will improve the safe operation of nine- to 15-passenger commercial vans and small buses in interstate commerce. Under the new rule, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations will apply to all businesses operating commercial motor vehicles (CMV) designed or used to transport between nine and 15 passengers (including the driver) in interstate commerce for direct compensation when the vehicle is operated beyond a 75-air-mile radius from the location where the driver normally works. Affected motor carriers must comply with the requirements of this rule by Nov. 10, 2003. Businesses operating these vehicles will be subject to compliance reviews and the same safety fitness procedures and standards used to evaluate other interstate motor carriers. Carriers that receive an unsatisfactory safety rating will be prohibited from operating CMVs to transport passengers in interstate commerce. The vehicles will be required to meet the same safety requirements as motorcoaches. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has twice issued cautionary warnings to users of 15-passenger vans because of an increased risk in these vehicles under certain conditions. The FMCSA estimates that this rulemaking will affect approximately 1,850 for-hire passenger motor carriers who are currently required to have operating authority. The final rule is available on the Internet at www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

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