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Safety Board says lack of oversight led to bus crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a statement saying that the federal Transportation Department has not done enough to protect consumers from fatal bus accidents. The statements came after a review of the Transportation Department stemming from four fatal bus accidents within the last year which killed a total of 25 people and injured 83.

While overall traffic accidents have decreased and the number of heavy truck crashes have decreased, safety regulators remain concerned that the number of bus fatalities is stagnant. This indicates that there is something more dangerous about the way the bus industry operates.

Ultimately the blame for fatalities falls to trucking and bus companies that do not take the steps necessary to prevent accidents. Sometimes companies cut corners to save costs, allowing drivers to skirt safety practices or hiring drivers with a history of misconduct.

However, regulators tasked with overseeing these industries also have some responsibility for failing to intervene early when dangerous conditions are identified. One potential pitfall according to regulators is that they have limited resources with only 350 inspectors responsible for 10,000 bus companies and more than 500,000 trucking companies.

One of the major accidents that led to increased scrutiny of bus companies took place in California when a bus carrying tourists collided with a pickup truck, resulting in eight deaths and 12 injuries.

When someone is injured or killed in a bus accident, the victim and their family deserve answers and accountability from the responsible party. In some cases there may have been multiple failings that led to the crash, and in those situations the victims may be entitled to compensation from more than one source.

Source: New York Times, “Federal Oversight Faulted in Truck and Bus Crashes,” Matthew L. Wald, Nov. 7, 2013

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