Private coach and bus companies are increasingly under scrutiny since a number of bus companies have been held liable after deadly highway accidents. Whether you are chartering a bus on behalf of your school, church or organization, or you are taking an independent trip with a bus company, it is important to keep safety in mind.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has also gotten involved to increase public awareness and to take a greater role in the regulation of busing companies. The agency has suspended the operations of a national bus company after finding that it posed an “imminent hazard to public safety.” Our Fort Lauderdale bus accident lawyers are experienced in investigating these complex cases and helping victims recover the compensation they deserve.
According to government reports, the bus company “Advanced Ventures” operated a fleet of coaches and mini-buses, transporting passengers throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Government agencies are charged with ensuring the safety of passengers and in upholding safety standards for busing companies. The agency claims that it will shut down any company that is not transporting passengers safely.
Bus safety encompasses a number of precautions, including maintenance and upkeep of vehicles, proper training and screening for drivers, ensuring safe routes, checking for inclement weather, and a number of other procedures that can ensure safe transport for passengers.
After an accident it is likely that any bus company will be investigated by the federal government, especially if the company is crossing over state lines. In an investigation of “Advanced Ventures,” the agency found that the bus company falsified inspection documents. This means that the vehicles were not properly maintained to meet minimum safety standards. The agency found that there were 39 safety violations. Onsite inspectors found that two of the vehicles in use were “imminently hazardous” and deemed out-of-service.
Proper maintenance includes upkeep of the engine and proper vehicular inspections as well as ensuring safe and functioning window exits. The inspections found that the company allowed drivers to operate vehicles without waiting from drug and alcohol test records. The company may also be held accountable for failure to maintain medical records, documentation, and itineraries.
Like the trucking industry, commercial bus companies are required to keep certain records and to maintain safe conditions for passengers. When documents are falsified, passengers are at risk of fatigued drivers or drivers who are under the influence. The agency is working to shut down those companies that fail to comply with federal regulatory standards.
Safety of passengers is critical. When taking a summer bus trip, be sure to properly research the company that you will be hiring. You should inquire about records and safety standards and always be wary if you suspect that a company falls short on protocols. You can also download the “SaferBus” mobile app to get up-to-date information on a bus company’s record of safety before making a reservation for your family or organization.
The federal government has shut down 21 companies and eight trucking companies for similar violations this year. In addition to shutting down bus companies, the agency has also suspended 6 commercial licenses, blocking drivers from crossing state lines with a commercial vehicle.
If you or a family member has been injured, call Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez— 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Car Accidents and Teenage Fatalities on the Rise in Florida, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 30, 2013
Unrested Drivers Causing Car Accidents in Deerfield Beach and Elsewhere Despite New Technology, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 20, 2012