It happens enough to make the nightly news. A charter or private bus crashes. Sometimes it happens in the middle of a city street while the sun is shining. Other times, the scene unfolds on desolate interstates well after midnight. Regardless of the circumstances, the story is often laced with tragedy. These are school kids, perhaps athletes coming back from a game. Or a tour bus filled with elders embarking on a sightseeing trip. It could be a bus full of people still feeling lucky after a casino jaunt.
According to a story in the New York Post, published in September, nearly half the private bus companies in the Big Apple had bad driving records.
In a New York Times article, Ydanis Rodriquez, chairman of the City Council's transportation committee, said he would hold a hearing to study how the city could strengthen regulations of city charter buses. "The fact [is] that every three or four years we are dealing with a driver that has already had a record of his license being suspended." Rodriquez added, "If we in the city are able to regulate the taxi industry, we should also be able to increase the level of accountability to all those intercity charter bus companies that come to get or renew their permits.''
Charter buses are often owned and operated by smaller private companies that have fleets of varying sizes. Unlike commuter buses, where the drivers operate the same routes repeatedly, charter bus drivers are often navigating on unfamiliar roads - sometimes in adverse conditions.
The leading causes of charter bus crashes include:
- Bus Company Negligence and Poor Maintenance: Even though they serve more than seven million passengers per year across the country, bus companies are not subject to stringent record-keeping and inspections. Following a serious crash, it is not uncommon for information to be obtained exposing poor driver training or prior maintenance violations. Many older buses in tour fleets are not equipped with seat belts, which can increase the fatalities and injuries in an accident.
- Driver Negligence: In studies of accidents, charter bus companies have often been found to disregard the laws in place that are intended to regulate how much time a driver can spend behind the wheel. Driver fatigue is a leading factor in bus crashes. When a driver is poorly trained and causes an accident, the accountability lies with the bus company.
Giampa Law knows how to fight to maximize your compensation after a charter or private bus accident. If you've been injured in New York, call today.