In the wake of the most recent fatal bus accident on May 31 on a Virginia highway, U.S. Transportation Secretary Raymond LaHood criticized the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Department of Transportation agency in charge of bus and truck safety, for failing to shut the bus company down. Essentially, LaHood was taking his own department to task regarding the latest tragic bus accident, in which a Sky Express bus on its way to Chinatown in Manhattan rolled over, killing four people.
The company, Sky Express of Charlotte, had a history of substantial safety violations, and had received an unsatisfactory safety rating on April 12, 2011. However, based on FMCSA rules, Sky Express had received an extension to continue operations while the investigation of its safety record continued, although the company could have been shut down on May 28, 2011, three days prior to the fatal crash in Virginia.
Mr. LaHood has been pushing for increased bus safety measures, including seat belts for passengers, sturdier roofs and windows that would prevent passengers from being ejected in a rollover. Additionally, LaHood put forth a plan in 2009 to reduce distracted driving and fatigued bus drivers. There have been a spate of horrific bus accidents in 2011, including the bus that rolled over on March 12 on I-95 in the Bronx, with the roof being sheared off and 15 passenger deaths, the fatal accident two days later on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing 2 and injuring 41, and more recently, another fatal accident in Cle Elum, Washington, which killed two and caused many injuries. LaHood stated: “There is no excuse for delay when a bus operator should be put out of business for safety’s sake…on my watch, there will never be another extension granted to a carrier we believe is unsafe.” Unfortunately, this pronouncement came a little late for the victims of the Virginia, New Jersey, Washington and Bronx crashes, but hopefully the increased attention from the Department of Transportation and Congress will finally result in some concrete safety measures to protect bus passengers in this country.
Contact the White Plains Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633 if you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, truck or bus crash or other type of accident for a free consultation with an experienced trial lawyer who will fight the insurance companies to maximize your compensation for all of your injuries, physical, mental and financial.