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Review Of Driver Licenses and Inspection Of Busses In Wake Of Bronx Bus Tragedy

Efforts have been stepped up to review commercial driver licenses and enforce commercial vehicle violations following the terrible bus crash on I-95 last weekend which resulted in the death of 15 passengers.

Sen. Charles Schumer has called for a crackdown on the discount tour bus companies and is asking the NTSB to expand its probe to look into regulations and oversight that is currently in place.   I’d expect a call for a crackdown by local level enforcement as well–vehicle stops for just about any reason followed by thorough investigation of both vehicle and the driver’s license and in many cases the issuance of one or more traffic tickets or other violations.

On Thursday, state officials inspected 21 buses at the Monticello bus terminal.  Their inspections resulted in six drivers taken off the road and seven traffic tickets issued for various violations.  Similar scenes around the state are likely to follow.  The State Department of Transportation and NY State Police have already conducted similar inspections at the Champlain Border Crossing and the Nassau Coliseum

Authorities have learned since the terrible crash in the Bronx on Saturday that the driver, who survived, has license suspensions and lied on recent applications.

Ordinarily, I have a slight problem with these “inspections”.  We have many commercial clients who report that drivers are pulled over in NYC for practically no reason at all and then sit through lengthy vehicle inspections which almost always result in multiple tickets issued.  While this may not seem problematic on it’s face if actually violations have been committed, I’ve noticed that we seem to get more calls from out of state vehicles and that the violations are often duplicative.  For example, if a commercial vehicle isn’t properly labeled with the company name, we’ll see one ticket issued for each side of the vehicle.  These inspections of out of state vehicles result in substantial fines paid to the criminal courts and tend to look like a literal highway robbery.

The current wave of inspections however is different.  A legitimate tragedy where driver issues had been either overlooked or ignored altogether justifies a well-intentioned wave of inspection and oversight .

Submitted by Scott Feifer, Esq.