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Thursday, Feb 07 2013 06:32 PM

OUR VIEW: Agencies dropped ball on horrific bus crash

By The Bakersfield Californian

Details about the record of a tour bus company whose bus crashed Sunday in San Bernardino County are so stunning, certain federal agencies must be held to answer.

Eight people died and several dozen more were injured when a bus owned by Scapadas Magicas of National City lost control and crashed into a car and pickup.

California's U.S. senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, on Thursday called for stronger passenger bus safety rules, pointing out that the bus company has been cited for 58 violations of federal safety standards since October 2011. The company's safety record was poor, "and yet an on-site compliance review by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last month resulted in a 'satisfactory' safety rating," they said. Further, the senators said, the National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly called for the FMCSA to improve its safety rating system.

The NTSB says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should adopt new measures to aid passenger safety, including improved roof strength and anti-ejection measures. But some of those proposals are a decade old and have still not been enacted.

Is this laziness? Ambivalence? Coziness with the industry? In any case it's unacceptable. The NTSB must take a hard look at whether regulatory inactivity factored into this tragedy.

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