Following the recent tragedy involving a tour bus company in New York City, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has put passenger carrier safety on the front burner in order to reduce bus accidents in Fort Lauderdale and elsewhere in the country.
Our West Palm Beach bus accident lawyers know that tour buses and motorcoaches are a popular mode of transportation in Florida so safety should be a number one priority for the passengers who travel on them. Tour companies sometimes take a questionable approach to hiring drivers and maintaining their buses so surprise inspections should be conducted routinely to help keep the passenger carrier industry honest.
Almost 2,800 surprise inspections were conducted from March 28 through April 6 across the United States by FMCSA along with the help of state and local law enforcement officials. The surprise inspections, prompted by the death of 15 passengers traveling on a casino tour bus which crashed in the Bronx earlier in the month, came too little too late.
MSNBC reports the driver of the NYC tour bus shouldn’t have been permitted to drive the bus after investigators found he had two licenses and several traffic violations. Tickets for speeding and driving without a license were issued to the driver which led to suspension of his license when he failed to respond to the charges. Federal regulations prevent drivers who have a commercial license from having more than one license but states don’t prevent someone with a criminal record from having a commercial driver’s license to drive a bus.
The nine-day period of passenger carrier safety inspections resulted in removing almost 300 unsafe buses or drivers from roadways across the U.S. There were 156 drivers and 262 vehicles cited for out-of-service violations. There are an estimated 3,700 registered motor coach companies in the U.S. of which only 1,042 had a compliance review done in 2010.
The U.S. Department of Transportation provided an analysis of all buses involved in fatal crashes. During the period of 1999-2008, Florida averaged 27 buses involved in fatal crashes per year.
With all the tourist attractions that Florida has to offer, tour companies stay in business by transporting passengers to sporting events, amusement parks, and other day or weekend trips. Passengers who suspect or experience unsafe driving behavior or commercial carriers are urged to call 911 or report the driver or coach by clicking on FMCSA National Consumer Complaint Database to file a complaint.
Before you plan or take your next trip on a commercial bus, passengers are encouraged to check Bus/Passenger Carrier Information for reputable companies with high safety ratings.
Contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez to speak with experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyers who fight for the rights of victims and their families in West Palm Beach, Miami, Margate, and Fort Lauderdale. Call 1-800-529-2368 to make a free and confidential appointment if you have suffered a serious injury in a bus or car accident in South Florida.