The NBC4 I-Team was awarded the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for its series of reports on bus safety. "In Harm's Way" exposed a number of local bus companies with questionable safety records, along with undercover video showing drivers routinely speeding, illegally using cell phones while behind the wheel, and working shifts in excess of 20 hours in a single day.
The report also looked at a glaring lack of regulation from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal agency in charge of interstate bus service.
In naming "In Harms’ Way" among the best investigative stories in the country, judges said, "This gripping series of reports … found regulators with knowledge of tour bus safety violations who still allowed the buses to carry passengers." Judges also noted the investigation resulted in a state raid on one of the companies, and federal action that shut down six others.
The story was reported by Joel Grover. "The IRE Award is a huge honor, because it recognizes ‘the best of the best’ of investigative journalism", said Grover. Others recognized for their work on the reports are Chris Henao, Ernesto Torres, Kris Li, Bobbi Eng, Phil Drechsler and Keith Esparros.
"There are as many bus passengers as there are airline passengers, yet there is a clear difference in the ways these industries are regulated," said Esparros. "Not only are bus passengers at risk, but so is everyone else who shares the road with them."
In Harm's Way: Part 1
In Harm's Way: Part 2
In Harm's Way: Part 3
In Harm's Way: Part 4