Press release from Office of Senator Mark Warner
RICHMOND, VA - Following deadly tour bus crashes that claimed dozens of lives in New York, Virginia and Washington state this year, a group of six senators wrote to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calling for swift implementation of safety standards aimed at preventing driver fatigue.
"The pattern of enforcement by DOT has been uneven, inconsistent and ineffective," the senators wrote. "These crashes indicate the urgency in addressing these critical safety deficiencies—improving occupant protection with currently available vehicle safety technology as well as upgrading driver and operator oversight and regulations. The failure of a driver and company to operate safely does not need to result in occupant deaths and injuries.
The letter, signed by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jim Webb (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Patty Murray (D-WA) urges the DOT to accelerate efforts to promptly remove unsafe motorcoach carriers from our roads, ensure driver preparedness, and protect passenger safety.
Driver fatigue is the root cause of 37 percent of all accidents investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Preliminary reports indicate that last week's Sky Express bus crash in Virginia was caused by two key factors: driver fatigue, and the Department of Transportation's (DOT) decision to give this clearly unsafe carrier a last minute reprieve from closure despite a pattern of safety failures and a determination that the carrier's safety record is unsatisfactory.