According to the Insurance Journal, a Houston-based state-certified vehicle inspection station previously cited for failing to notice defects in a bus that crashed in North Texas killing 17 people, is back in business. Brothers Alam and Cesar Hernandez, the owners of 5 Minute Inspections have been, opened another station in the same Houston neighborhood with the approval of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS). This highlights a large problem: the lack of oversight for businesses that perform state inspections of buses and other commercial vehicles.
Federal regulations require commercial vehicles be inspected annually. The inspections can be conducted by state personnel, private garages, or the companies operating the vehicles. More than half of the states in the United States have no prescribed inspections requirements, leaving the responsibility up to the motor carriers themselves.
Jaqueline Gillan, President of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, stated “[i]f you can’t afford to take a plane and have to take a bus, you are going to be subject to second-class safety standards, both in terms of equipment and oversight by the federal government”. Safety should always be the chief concern for any company operating on our roads. Normally, we trust the government to regulate and ensure that the vehicles carrying passengers on a public roadway are operating safely. This latest revelation speaks directly to that issue and it appears as though there are certainly cracks in their oversight.”