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Lack of regulations and enforcement blamed for fatal crash

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has come under fire from another federal agency, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), for its lack of oversight. Specifically, it was criticized regarding only requiring voluntary reporting for things like medical records of drivers. The FMCSA is charged with overseeing the safety of commercial motor vehicle, including trucks and buses.

Unfortunately, the FMCSA has lacked a full-time administrator in the Trump administration. Although a candidate for the position was nominated this fall, that candidate has yet to be approved by Congress.

The criticism by the NTSB comes after its investigation of a fatal crash in Aug. 2016 that killed four people and injured 20 more. The bus driver was reportedly suffering from lack of sleep at the time of the crash.

According to the NTSB's investigation, the company that owned the bus had "demonstrated its repeated lack of compliance" in the number of hours that drivers were allowed to work as well as falsified reports. However, it was allowed to remain in operation and had recently passed an FMCSA inspection.

The NTSB found the bus company had "demonstrated its repeated lack of compliance" but was allowed to keep operating. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said, "We think that they should have done a better job with knowing what was going on with this particular carrier."

Despite this crash and the subsequent findings of the NTSB, FMCSA officials have said that it won't ask for increased safety regulations going forward.

The question of how much government regulation industries should be subject to is often a matter of heated political debate. However, when people are injured or worse in an accident involving a large vehicle like a truck or bus, victims and surviving family members have the right to determine who could have taken steps to prevent it and hold those individuals and entities legally accountable.

Source: CBS News, "NTSB hits transportation agency for lack of oversight in bus crash," Nov. 14, 2017

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