The recent deadly bus accidents in New York and New Jersey show that the National Transportation Safety Board still has a way to go to improve driver safety and training and instill confidence in passengers throughout the Northeast.
In March, a tour bus traveling from Mohegan Sun in Connecticut to Chinatown in New York City crashed in the Bronx, killing 15 people. Days later, a different tour bus from New York City to Pennsylvania crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing two people.
Every year, tour bus accidents cause serious injuries and death throughout the northeast United States.
“We can’t wait for another deadly bus crash to increase protections for consumers and ensure bus safety,” U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said. “This bipartisan legislation is an important step towards reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by motorcoach accidents. Congress must come together and prevent any future bus trips from turning into tragedies.”
Senators Gillibrand and Charles E. Schumer are cosponsoring legislation to increase bus safety and driver education to decrease accidents and fatalities on these budget-friendly modes of transportation. They are proposing seat belt requirements and stronger roof standards as tour buses have a history of rollover issues.
Last year, the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act did not pass the Senate, and is being reintroduced for a decision this year. MESA would mandate safety measures that automobiles already are required to have, including: anti-ejection window glazing, rollover stability and strong roofs, seatbelts and fire prevention. The NTSB has recommended these measures during the last 40 years, but “have largely been ignored or languished for many years”, said Jackie Gillan, the vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Benjamin Kelley, a member of the board of directors for the Center for Auto Safety says that, “with nearly 20 deaths and 8,000 injuries each year, and more than 700 million bus trips taken annually, requirements to protect families that use this inexpensive and increasingly popular mode of transportation are long overdue.”
MESA also wants to create a national commercial motor vehicle medical registry to ensure driver physicals are done by qualified medical examiners. It also mandates unannounced safety inspections and audits as well as on-board recorders to track vehicle locations that a driver cannot access. In May, the NTSB will conduct a public forum on truck and bus safety. They will review current programs and new initiatives. The last forum on bus safety was more than a decade ago, and during that time 400 recommendations were given to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from these types of accidents.
Claims due to injuries or death from negligent operation or maintenance of a tour bus or motorcoach are worthy of legal counsel to ensure an individual’s rights are upheld. At Stratton Faxon Law Firm, the Connecticut personal injury attorneys are recognized by clients and colleagues for tenaciously pursuing complex cases. They will uphold an individual’s rights to ride on a commercial bus that has sufficient safety features and a driver who is compliant with all regulations and has a sound safety record.
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Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon. Contact Stratton Faxon to speak with a Connecticut accident lawyer about your personal injury, wrongful death, or Connecticut malpractice case. To learn more, visit Strattonfaxon.com.