Bus Travel: Not Always as Safe as It Seems
If you think bus travel is perfectly safe, think again. According to the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (the research arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation), there were a whopping 60,247 crashes involving buses in 2008. Those 60, 247 crashes resulted in 67 deaths and approximately 15,000 reported injuries.
Just such a bus accident occurred in the early hours of June 27, 2011 when a tourist bus owned by Mr. Ho Charter Service slammed into the rear end of a tractor-trailer. The accident occurred on a Pennsylvania turnpike, while the bus was heading to New York.
The 39-year-old driver of New York City was killed. Twenty-three unsuspecting passengers were injured.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) discovered that the charter bus company was currently in violation of several safety rules on top of having a record of safety offenses. It had failed to administer the required drug tests to either the driver or the co-driver. Both drivers had also falsified their driving logs to make it appear as if they had the required eight-hour rest breaks before driving again.
Mr. Ho Charter Company had previously been cited for 12 “fatigued driver” incidents. Additionally on June 7, 2011, in a compliance review, FMCSA investigators found that the charter bus company had not been conducting required drug and alcohol screenings of its drivers.
After the June 7 review, the company was cited and heavily fined. Still, Mr. Ho Charter Service continued to allow drivers to operate passenger-filled buses without proper rest or drug screenings. Finally, last month the FMCSA shut the bus company down, making it the second bus company the agency closed down in a 24 hour period.
Most of us assume that bus companies put the safety of their passengers first, and that bus drivers do too. But as is so often the case, the temptation to make as much money as quickly as possible, gets in the way. Unfortunately, when we see buses barreling down the highway, aiming for tourist towns and casinos, it is not always safe to assume that the person in the driver’s seat is aware and alert.
Source: FMCSA reveals second bus firm put OOS within 24-hour period