Monday, August 11, 2008

Voluntary Deaths

In its determination to eliminate government regulation, the administration can count 17 new deaths in N.TX. Those Vietnamese Americans who were killed in an accident here would have traveled safely - if there had been real enforcement of safety regulations for passenger buses. The bus they had rented should not have been on the road.

[UPDATE: Bus crash in NV, at least 20 hurt: Police found tire tread on the roadway and are looking into the possibility that tire failure may have caused the wreck."]

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered Iguala BusMex and Angel Tours Inc. to cease commercial operations. The agency issued a second order finding that the activities of Angel De La Torre, owner and president of the bus companies, "in connection with motor carrier operations pose an 'imminent hazard' to the public."

Authorities also announced that an Iguala BusMex bus was pulled out of service at the religious festival in Carthage, Mo., because it was unauthorized to operate.

The voicemail service for Angel Tours' remained full late Sunday.

Bus driver Barrett Wayne Broussard, 52, remained in critical condition at a Sherman hospital. No one answered the phone at his Houston home.

Broussard's driving record includes citations for driving while intoxicated in 2001 and for speeding in May 2004 and March 2007. His license was suspended for two months in 2001 because of the DWI conviction in Harris County, said Debbie Hersman, a spokeswoman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Broussard failed roadside inspections twice last year, Hersman said. Inspectors pulled his bus out of service both times.

Robert Accetta, the NTSB member leading the investigation, said an investigator will travel to Houston to learn more about the two bus companies.

Iguala BusMex applied in June for a federal license to operate as a charter but was still awaiting approval, according to online records. Angel Tours was forced by federal regulators to take its vehicles out of interstate service June 23 after an unsatisfactory review.

Inspectors are also looking at the mechanics of the wrecked bus and examining its interior damage, Accetta said.

Authorities said the vehicle's right front tire, which blew out, had been retreaded in violation of safety standards. The bus skidded about 130 feet before striking a guardrail. It then traveled nearly 120 feet before coming to rest down an embankment near a creek.(Emphasis added.)

The bus did not belong on the road, and shouldn't have been carrying passengers. No mechanism exists besides the voluntary cooperation of the owner. That voluntary cooperation did not happen, in this instance and in so many others. The pretense that standards are in force for the public good has turned our protections into a dismal farce.

In its reckless elimination of the government it sees as inconvenient, the occupied White House has increased the dangers U.S. citizens face in countless ways. The shameful record grows daily, of the deaths the war criminals have caused.


Conversation this a.m. with montag, at Eschaton, in comments:

Umm, I don't think so. Even though the motor carrier aspect of ICC is gone (as of 1995, I think), the superseding agency is the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), so, someone with interstate routes can still operate under ICC registration, if that was issued when the ICC was active, or with FMCSA registration, if registered after 1995.

There is a category known as Registered Exempt Carriers, which is part of the SSRS system, which allows carriers to apply for USDOT exemption, providing they are licensed in the state in which they principally operate.

One way or another, there should be either state or federal oversight for any commercial passenger carrier operating on public roads, as regards safety matters.

Regulations for interstate passenger carrier maintenance can be found in 49 CFR, Part 396, FMVSS requirements in Part 571, and minimum inspection requirements in Appendix G of 49 CFR.
montag | Homepage | 08.11.08 - 7:17 am | #

[and then my response-

montag, if the regulations on the books were really being imposed on the carriers, it would be a good thing.]

Ah, now you're getting to my point--it's not that safety regulation has disappeared. Rather, it's not being enforced, which is an entirely different matter.

One of my favorite stories as illustration of the problem happened during the Reagan years. Illegal mines in Kentucky were (and continue to be) extremely common. Pre-Reagan, there were 50 mining inspectors in KY. After Reagan came to office, he couldn't get the mine safety office to change the regulations, so, they simply cut funding for 48 of those inspectors. There was one for eastern KY, and one for western KY. Way too much territory for one person to cover, so mining deaths went up.

A lot of agencies with oversight responsibility still haven't recovered from the cuts of the Reagan years.
montag | Homepage | 08.11.08 - 7:30 am | #

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