School buses have been proven time and time again to be one of the soundest forms of transportation, which is why the National School Transportation Association commended the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for its reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs and its introduction of a bill that demands a review of federal minimum insurance requirements before they might be increased.
NSTA President Todd Monteferrario said he considers the recent Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 an advancement of a number of priorities for the agency.
“NSTA applauds the HTIC for reporting a bipartisan bill to reauthorize federal surface transportation programs and including several significant provisions to resolve issues currently threatening the private school bus industry,” said Monteferrario.
The bill addresses provisions aimed at requiring more review before federal minimum insurance requirements are increased and reforms of the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program, which include the removal of outward facing scores from public view until the reforms are completed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had a pending rule that could potentially increase insurance rates for school bus contractors by 400 percent without any study or analysis of the issue. But FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling has not included this provision one of its five regulatory priorities. Since school buses have been deemed the safest transportation mode by U.S. Department of Transportation statistics, NSTA has sought clarification for the belief that current insurance levels are inadequate.
Under the bill, FMCSA will study accident and claims histories of passenger carrier industries before they are granted permission to proceed with drastic increases to minimum insurance rates.
Ronna Weber, executive director of NSTA, also supported the effort to push forth “a strong bipartisan bill that will ensure that the private school bus industry and the millions of children it transports to and from school safely every day continue to thrive.”