POSTED: Friday, June 1, 2012 - 10:30am
UPDATED: Friday, June 1, 2012 - 10:34am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — The federal government is slamming the brakes on more than two dozen bargain bus companies after a series of fatal accidents.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has declared the bus lines an imminent hazards to public safety.
"By ignoring safety rules the operators put both passengers and other motorists at serious risk and shutting them down will save lives," LaHood said.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer has introduced legislation to make it harder for rogue carriers to operate.
"If you put profits ahead of passenger safety you're going to get caught and you're going to get shut down," Schumer warned.
The announcement comes one year to the day after a New York-bound Sky Express bus crashed outside of Richmond, killing four people and injuring 50 others.
When the accident happened the government was in the process of ordering Sky Express off the road, but the company was appealing that order.
Two months earlier 15 people were killed in a similar bus accident in The Bronx.
An estimated 1,800 passengers ride low-cost buses every day in the I-95 corridor from Florida to New York, but an industry group says the bargains come at a high price.
"The good companies rest their drivers, they perform the proper maintenance on their equipment they do all of the right things," says Dan Ronan of the American Bus Association. "The bad companies cut corners and unfortunately sometimes they kill people."
The new rules will prohibit the companies that have been shut down from simply re-starting up with new names.