Officials Surprise Charter Buses With Safety Inspections

JERSEY CITY — The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) conducted a surprise safety inspection today of charter buses traveling in the area of Liberty State Park as part its program to try to reduce the number of crashes and fatalities on the Garden State’s busy highways.

This safety inspection comes as states across the country are conducting thousands of surprise inspections of motor coaches and tour buses during the national Passenger Carrier Strike Force, Sept. 23 – Oct. 7.

“We greatly value the important safety efforts led by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to ensure bus passengers are safe,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “The nationwide strike force is an important enforcement tool to hold bus companies accountable so that safety is the number one priority every trip, every time.”

Last week, the US Department of Transportation hosted a day-long Motorcoach Safety Summit in Washington to raise the bar for the motorcoach industry.

“From interstate highways to local neighborhood streets, the MVC remains focused on one thing – safety,” said MVC Chairman and Chief Administrator Raymond P. Martinez. “We are committed to assuring that only the safest vehicles of all shapes and sizes are traveling on New Jersey’s roadways.”

Also at today’s event was NJ Division Administrator for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Christopher Rotondo.

Over the past five years, the FMCSA has doubled the number of bus inspections and comprehensive reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies.

New Jersey is considered to have one of the top inspection programs in the country. In 2010, the MVC’s inspection team, in conjunction with local and state law enforcement, inspected 7,670 commercial buses in terminals across the state and 926 buses along the roadways.

One of the reasons for the success of the MVC’s nationally-recognized program is the people out in the field, day-in and day-out. Supervisor Joseph Spinelli, who was present at today’s inspection, has performed approximately 600 New Jersey-mandated inspections on commercial buses per year. He became federally-certified to perform commercial bus inspections for the US Department of Highway Safety Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) in 1999 and to date, has performed over 850 MCSAP inspections on commercial buses. By the end of 2011, Spinelli will have performed a total of over 8,000 inspections on commercial buses.

Today’s inspection (weather permitting) was a Level 1 North American Standard Inspection that included an examination of the driver license, medical examiner’s certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation certificate, alcohol and drugs, driver’s record of duty status as required, hours of service, seat belt, vehicle inspection reports, brake systems, coupling devices, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps, flags on projecting loads), securing cargo, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, windshield wipers and emergency exits and/or electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments.

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