Every summer, churches, schools, businesses, and other organizations will hire commercial bus companies to transport large groups. Whether you are riding a bus this summer or looking to hire a bus company, it is important to keep safety at the forefront of your planning. Nationwide, commercial bus, coach and other transport companies are under scrutiny for failing to follow safety regulations, and for not keeping passengers safe.
Over the last several years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has pursued initiatives to identify and penalize companies in violation of safety standards. Many of the unsafe conditions, however, are recognized too late — after an accident. Our Charlotte bus accident attorneys are experienced in the investigation of commercial bus injuries and can help victims protect their rights.
This summer the DOT has created a public awareness campaign and is taking greater efforts to regulate bussing companies in North Carolina, South Carolina, and nationwide. Earlier this month, the agency suspended a national bus company after discovering that it posed an “imminent hazard to public safety.” The agency has reported that the bus company, “Advanced Ventures” owned, operated and dispatched a fleet of mini- and coach buses. The company operated independently and profited from transporting passengers throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
The DOT is responsible for ensuring the safety of drivers, passengers, and motorists. Transportation safety includes regulating safety standards for bussing companies. According to the DOT, “Advanced Ventures” was shut down due to a number of violations that resulted in unsafe transport of passengers. Commercial bus regulations require that companies maintain vehicles, properly train drivers and ensure that safe routes are followed. Companies must also watch for inclement weather and suspend operations in unsafe conditions.
Bus companies are often scrutinized after an accident. In this case, “Advanced Ventures” was liable for a number of serious violations, including falsifying documents, failed maintenance, and using vehicles that were deemed “imminently hazardous.” Overall there were 39 safety violations. Proper maintenance requires upkeep of engine, vehicular inspections, safe exits, and proper function of windows. The bus company failed these inspections and also failed to check drivers for use of drugs or alcohol.
Bus and trucking companies must maintain proper log records to document the length of a trip, the number of hours a driver is behind the wheel. False records could seriously endanger passengers who are at risk of fatigued drivers or drivers under the influence. The DOT is looking to investigate and shut down those companies that are routinely in violation of federal safety laws.
Buses and other commercial trucking companies pose a higher risk to other passengers on the road. Passengers on board can also face serious hazards in the event of an accident. This summer, if you are going to be on board a commercial bus, remember to properly research the company and ensure that you and your loved ones are in safe hands. As a passenger, you should inquire about accident history and safety records. You should be wary if a company fails to follow internal or government protocols.
Now, passengers can download the “SaferBus” mobile app to get up-to-date information on safety records for any commercial bus line. Whether you are traveling alone, with family, or with an organization, travel safe this summer.