March is shaping up to be a rather expensive month for air carriers American and Northwest.
In a somewhat surprising conclusion to a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it was recently announced that airplanes equipped with 'glass cockpits', or digitized flight data displays, have not proven to be any safer than planes that operate with conventional, non-digital instrumentation.
The company involved in the fatal, March 5 bus crash outside of Phoenix, Arizona had been denied passenger carrier operating authority in April, 2009, but continued to operate anyways, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT). Pursuant to an emergency request by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Tierra Santa, Inc., was ordered on March 6 by the United States District Court for the Central District of California to cease all passenger carrier services-even though the company's application to conduct such services had been officially denied by the USDOT on December 14, 2009. According to the FMCSA complaint, Tierra Santa's owner, Cayetano Martinez, operated other entities that had previously been shut down, yet attempted to "reincarnate himself as a new carrier" only to be denied authorization once more in December, 2009. The complaint further states that "Martinez has shown a persistency and determination to continue operating under new entities and businesses," a pattern that is "without authority and without regard for the safety of its passengers" according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In the middle of February, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced its 2010 Federal Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, addressing concerns in the areas of rail, marine, aviation and highway safety. Each issue within the individual areas was assigned a status color related to actions taken thus far in response to the safety issues: Red ("unacceptable"), Yellow ("acceptable-progressing slowly") or Green ("acceptable response-progressing in a timely manner").
In line with the upcoming, nation-wide implementation of Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched Friday the initial phase of its Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP). The PSP, one of the many changes the FMCSA is making to the current regulations governing large motor carriers, will enable carrier companies, including semi-trailer truck carriers, to have electronic access to the driving records for potential new drivers, specifically crash records and driver safety inspections.