California has seen its fair share of bus accidents this year. In February, a tour bus crash killed eight people near Yucaipa, California. Sixteen were injured in another tour bus accident in Yosemite in April. Finally, a party bus crashed at the end of May, killing one person and injuring 10 more on California’s Highway 101.
These California bus accidents left us wondering: Is it safe to ride a bus? Are there regulations — or at least policies — in place to take dangerous buses off the road?
Government agencies have taken steps in recent months to proactively address these questions, and at least one of the steps appears to be working. In just the last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) suspended the operation of at least two bus carriers, including Lucky Star (New York/Boston) and Destiny Tours (Lake City, South Carolina). The two suspensions are the most recent of 11 out-of-service orders issued by the FMCSA in its “Operation Quick Strike.”
Operation Quick Strike was started on April 1, 2013, to address the number of bus accidents caused by high-risk passenger carriers. On that date, more than 50 safety investigators were deployed throughout the U.S. to conduct investigations of high-risk carriers and issue citations or out-of-service orders to carriers that do not meet safety regulations. In addition to suspending the 11 carriers, the NHTSA has suspended eight truck companies and six commercial driver’s license holders.
All of this is, of course, too late for those who were injured in one of California’s bus accidents this year. Even if the bus companies involved in those accidents are suspended (such as Scapadas Magicas in Mexico), they must still face the death of a loved one or years of recovery from physical and emotional injuries. They may find some relief by bringing a personal injury lawsuit against the bus company, bus driver or another negligent party.