August 25, 2011

FMCSA awards $8M to Pa. to improve bus, truck safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) awarded $7.9 million to Pennsylvania to improve bus and truck safety through the use of increased oversight, safety audits and streamlined driver testing processes.

The funding will be distributed to the Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

Safety tactics to be deployed include strengthening enforcement oversight at high-crash corridors throughout the state, conducting safety audits of new truck and bus companies, and upgrading the commercial driver’s license knowledge test from paper to electronic form at testing facilities across the state.

FMCSA also awarded $174,370 to the City of Philadelphia Police Department to support its full-time commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspection unit and to increase safety inspection strike forces and other traffic enforcement activities at popular destinations. FMCSA additionally awarded the Pittsburgh Police Department $239,991 to bolster commercial truck and bus inspections at tunnel entrances and to train its CMV enforcement unit.

As FMCSA announced its grant award at a motorcoach passenger drop-off and inspection point near Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center Hall, Philadelphia police officers were conducting full bus driver and vehicle safety inspections. The Philadelphia inspection sweep is part of Pennsylvania’s Statewide Motorcoach Inspection Strikeforce, which runs from Aug. 21 through Aug. 27, 2011.

In addition to FMCSA’s grant and enforcement efforts, the agency also offers a "Think Safety: Every Trip, Every Time" pre-trip safety checklist that helps consumers review a bus company's safety record, safety rating and USDOT operating authority before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel. The checklist is available online at FMCSA's Passenger Bus Safety website.

FMCSA also encourages consumers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) or FMCSA's consumer complaint website.

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