Atlantic City, N.J.—The Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ) met for an informing discussion at the Taj Mahal during the Chauffeur Driven Show on November 5 for their breakfast meeting, which was open to all show attendees.
The meeting started with a welcome by LANJ Executive Director Barry Lefkowitz and then some information from sponsors Randy O’Neill from Lancer Insurance, Mike Marroccoli from Capacity Insurance, and Carl Restivo from Don Brown Bus Sales.
Lefkowitz then introduced N.J. Division Administrator Chris Rotondo of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), who discussed Operation Quick Strike, a federal government initiative to stop deadly charter crashes—particularly from buses—in light of recent accidents.
“For years,” Rotondo said to the crowd, “we’ve allowed the states to do the maintenance portion of this, and they’re very good at it. What we’ve done is expanded that.”
As Rotondo acknowledged, the inspections have been very rigorous. After four months and 250 carriers inspected in the program’s first phase, 30 percent were found unsatisfactory, 73 percent received a fine of some kind, and 30 percent of vehicles were placed out of service.
Rotondo also welcomed any operators who want to know more about inspection requirements or challenge any inaccurate data stored in their company’s safety profile to visit fmcsa.dot.gov. Rotondo also explained that driver behavior is the number one cause of crashes in passenger carrier industries. Furthermore, most of those drivers work second jobs and lose focus out of fatigue. Rotondo urged attendees to have any extra employment by their drivers in the open and documented along with mandatory drug testing and background checks.
After Rotondo’s presentation, Lefkowitz brought up the PASS Act, federal legislation awaiting a vote that would grant motor vehicle regulators direct access to criminal records for the sake of background checks for commercial drivers. Rotondo clarified that he could not, as a federal employee, endorse legislation. He did, however, express confidence that it would get passed.