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Governor Cuomo Announces Multi-Agency Ramp Up of Charter and Tour Bus Inspections Across New York in Time for Holiday Travel

DOT, DMV and State Police Inspections Have Taken 112 Unsafe Buses, 96 Unqualified Drivers off the Road Since September

View Breakdown of Inspections Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a multi-agency enforcement initiative to target potentially illegal interstate charter and tour bus companies operating in New York State in an effort to remove unsafe vehicles and drivers from the roads during the holiday season. The Governor directed the State Department of Transportation, Department of Motor Vehicles and New York State Police to increase the frequency of random roadside inspections of interstate charter and tour buses to protect visitors and travelers and prevent fraudulent companies from operating in New York State. The effort has already resulted in 112 unsafe buses and 96 unqualified drivers being taken off the road as a result of more than 1,115 roadside bus inspections performed since mid-September.

"This enforcement effort will help take these illegal and unsafe buses off New York roads, protecting the health and safety of passengers and motorists alike," Governor Cuomo said. "With this multi-agency operation, we are cracking down on these bad actors and seeking to give travelers a peace of mind as they book their trips this holiday season."

With tourism at an all-time high and an expected additional rush of travel during the next several weeks, the initiative aims to protect the safety of passengers, including tourists who travel on these buses, and the motorists that share the road with these charter and tour vehicles.

Interstate bus companies are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and these enforcement efforts crack down on companies that have failed to comply with federal motor carrier requirements, and deter them from conducting business within the state. In addition, the state will petition the federal government to place charter and tour bus companies that state investigators deem unsafe out of service.

Since mid-September, DOT investigators and State Police have performed 1,115 roadside bus inspections across the State. Ninety-six drivers and 112 buses were taken off the road for serious safety defects. This represents a 50 percent increase in inspections compared to the same time-frame last year.

The most common out-of-service violations cited for drivers were:

  • Not being medically qualified
  • Not being properly licensed
  • Not having log book filled out

The most common out-of-service violations for the company/vehicle were:

  • Seating capacity exceeds manufacturer's seating capacity
  • Emergency exit violations
  • Not having the proper operating authority

All out-of-service defects must be resolved before the operator and/or vehicle can resume operations. In addition, inspection results are uploaded to a federal database and both federal and state officials use the roadside data to target poor performing companies for further enforcement action.

During roadside inspections drivers' licenses and credentials are verified and log books are checked for accuracy; bus components such as fuel systems; brakes, wheels and tires; lighting devices; steering mechanisms; exhaust systems; and the bus body, including the structural integrity of the chassis/frame, are inspected to ensure safe operations.

These random roadside safety inspections are in addition to the regularly scheduled inspections conducted on buses domiciled in New York State at least every six months, which is already double of what is required by federal law. DOT performs approximately 160,000 semi-annual pre-scheduled bus inspections a year on buses based in New York, during which it utilizes some of the most rigorous inspection standards in the country. Regularly scheduled inspections are performed on school, charter, line-run commercial, ambulette and airport buses.

Vehicles subject to New York State inspection include the following:

  • Vehicles transporting passengers under the age of 21 years, to and from schools, for hire, or owned and/or operated by school districts or any public or private school. Also included are vehicles used to transport passengers under the age of 21 years between school programs and community residences.
  • Vehicles operated in New York State, pursuant to or requiring a certificate or permit for the transportation of passengers, the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation.
  • All buses operated pursuant to or requiring regulatory authority from any city that has adopted an ordinance, local law or charter to regulate a franchise bus line operation pursuant to the New York State Transportation Law.
  • Double-decker sightseeing buses regulated by the New York City Department of Community Affairs

DMV investigators will continue to use state-of-the-art facial recognition technology to identify fraudulent bus drivers who have a valid Commercial Driver License in one name and additional driver license documents in another name.

NYSDOT Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "These targeted inspections ordered by Governor Cuomo are enhancing safety on New York's roads and getting dangerous drivers off the street so residents, visitors and tourists can travel with ease during the upcoming holiday season. New York already has one of the most rigorous and aggressive commercial vehicle inspection programs in the nation and additional roadside inspections help build upon our previous successes."

DMV's Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, "By coordinating with our partner agencies, DMV has worked to identify dangerous drivers and make sure they do not get another license to keep driving when they are not legally allowed. We will continue to work with state and local law enforcement organizations to enforce our traffic laws, and we applaud Governor Cuomo in his efforts to keep our communities safe for all New Yorkers."

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "Highway safety is a top priority for the New York State Police, and our Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit works every day to ensure the safe operation of commercial vehicles throughout the state. We are committed to working with our partners at DOT and DMV to ensure that charter and tour bus operators are in compliance with the law."

For more information about Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 19-A, which outlines requirements for motor carriers who employ bus drivers, click here.

For information about NYSDOT's bus inspection program, click here.