Action Against Unsafe Motorcoach Companies Should Reduce the Risks of Bus Accidents in Charlotte, Greensboro
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been busy issuing hazard demerits and out-of-service orders to charter bus companies across the U.S., so our Charlotte personal injury lawyers find it makes sense that bus safety has made the most wanted list for areas needing improvement, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Our final topic in the "Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements" series is bus safety. Other areas of emphasis by the NTSB that we have posted about in our series include teen driver safety, drunk driving accidents and motorcycle safety. Bus accidents in Greensboro and Charlotte are a growing concern because charter companies from these areas are being cited for an Unsatisfactory Safety Rating by the FMCSA as we posted on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog.
Not only has Sky Express Inc. from Charlotte been granted an out-of-service order but North Carolina-based United Tours, Inc. was issued an "Imminent Hazard - Out-of-Service" order for non-qualified drivers employed by the company.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that approximately 750 million passengers are transported by motorcoaches each year. Rarely involved in highway accidents, most would probably consider charter buses one of the safest modes of transportation. However, companies who fail to provide quality buses with qualified drivers put a large number of people in jeopardy each time they step on the bus.
"From Day One, I have pledged to put public safety above all else, and we will continue to take action when we see carriers placing passengers at risk," said U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We have seen the tragic consequences of unsafe practices - whether it's ignoring fatigue regulations, providing inadequate driver training, or failing to conduct the proper maintenance of a bus or motorcoach. We continue using all of the tools at our disposal to get unsafe carriers off the road and hope that Congress will act on our proposal to provide us with the necessary authority to expand our safety oversight."
Two previous fatal bus crashes have made the government look at safety standards a little more closely. Numerous fatalities and injuries as a result of a 2008 bus crash in Texas and the 2009 rollover crash involving a motorcoach in Utah has upped the ante on bus safety.
Improving roof strength, protected seating areas and window glazing has become vital in improving safety of all passengers. Moving forward, government standards are needed to create consistency among members of the motorcoach industry. Motorcoach manufacturers must implement seat belts and make buses more occupant friendly in order to prevent injury and make buses safer in the event of a crash.
Exits should be well marked and easily accessible so that occupants can exit the motorcoach quickly. Consumers can help themselves by checking a charter company's safety record and rating. For a pre-trip safety checklist, visit FMCSA online for more information before you plan your next trip. Negligent drivers and charter companies should always be held accountable despite their safety rating.