Sunday, September 25, 2005

Mabye this explains why we have safety laws....


The bus, run by Global Limo of McAllen, Tex., burst into flames and exploded on the side of Interstate 45 early Friday morning. It was carrying 38 frail residents of the Brighton Gardens home in Bellaire, Tex., away from the expected path of Hurricane Rita to another facility in Dallas.

Mark Cross, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, said Saturday morning that the bus's registration expired in July and that the vehicle had been taken out of service. But it was allowed back on the road because of a waiver signed last week by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas intended to get as many vehicles as possible involved in the hurricane evacuation and relief effort.

"I direct that all requirements concerning motor carrier registration, single-state registration, and international registration plan, and international fuel tax agreement be suspended for motor carriers traveling within or into Texas to assist with relief efforts," the governor wrote in a letter to Richard F. Williamson, chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission.

The waiver - for all commercial vehicles, not just buses - also temporarily suspended limits on the number of hours those vehicles could be operated. The bus that exploded had been on the road for more than 14 hours, traveling from Bellaire, a few miles southwest of downtown Houston, to within 15 miles of its destination when the accident occurred at 6:30 a.m. near Wilmer, Tex.

"I ask all Texas law enforcement and other federal and state officials to honor this letter as a blanket permit," Mr. Perry wrote.

There were no indications of safety problems with the bus, only that its registration had expired, Mr. Cross said.
I am not blaming Gov. Perry, or anyone else. But the idea that "Government is the problem, not the solution," simply couldn't be more wrong. And those "nit-picking" laws about vehicles allowed to be in service; maybe we shouldn't be so quick to waive those, or disregard them.

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