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| Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has noted with increasing concern the last several years that there have been a high number of commercial bus accidents with fatalities. That is why the FMCSA announced recently that it is making the inspection, repair and maintenance of commercial buses a high priority.

Some of the recent commercial bus crashes that have hit national news in the US include:

  • September 7, 2016 in Dallas TX when an OGA Charters bus veered off the highway near Laredo and overturned. Seven people died. Weather was thought to be a factor in the crash. The company had been sited for violating maintenance procedures and drug screening regulations for employers.
  • February 2016, Comanche TX: A TX prison bus hit a pick up truck near Waco. 23 passengers were hurt, and the pick up driver died.
  • December 2015, Arlington TX: A Greyhound bus hit an SUV on I-30, killing the SUV driver. 16 bus passengers were hurt.

The FMCSA reminded all drivers of commercial vehicles this week that they must do a written inspection report of the bus at the end of every work day. The report has to include the make, model and year of the bus. It also should note any defects that could affect the safe operation of the bus.

The FMCSA also is doing more commercial bus inspections, with more than 4000 performed over the past five years. They also do roadside inspections, and they have increased those 100% in the last decade from 12,991 to 25,705.

Our View

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys want to remind all commercial operators of buses and trucks that they have a legal obligation to ensure that their drivers are properly trained and meet all federal requirements for hiring. The companies also must conduct regular safety inspections of their vehicles per state and federal law.

If they do not follow these laws and an accident happens resulting in serious personal injury or death, criminal prosecution is not the only consequence. They also can be sued in civil court – both the driver of the vehicle and the company. Wrongful death lawsuits can end in multi million dollar settlements, so it is better for the commercial bus or trucking company to just follow the law and keep their vehicles safe.


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