Recent Charter Bus Accidents Raise Safety Questions

by Carmen Dellutri on April 4, 2013

Naples accident attorneyAs Port Charlotte accident lawyers, we are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of our county’s charter buses, following a string of tragic accidents.

In the latest crash, a bus carrying a women’s lacrosse team veered off the Pennsylvania Turnpike and crashed into a tree. The bus driver and the team’s pregnant coach were both killed. In another recent accident, 35 students were injured when a bus carrying students crashed into a Massachusetts overpass after the driver failed to obey a height restriction.

To help prevent another tragic accident, it is important to thoroughly research charter bus companies. To assess their safety practices, below are a few key questions to ask:

  • Driver qualifications: To make sure the driver is qualified to operate the bus, it is important to verify that the driver holds a current Commercial Driver's License with a "passenger" endorsement and a valid medical certificate. Passengers should also ask if the company has a driver drug/alcohol testing program that complies with Department of Transportation regulations.
  • Hours-of-service limitations: Drivers are only allowed to drive for a specified number of hours and must take required breaks. For instance, they may not drive more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. When planning a long trip, it is important to verify that the company abides by these rules.
  • Vehicle standards: Charter bus companies are required to systematically inspect, repair, and maintain all buses subject to their control. It is important to make sure that the company’s fleet is up-to-date.
  • Subcontractors: It is important to ask if the company uses subcontractors to supply buses or drivers. If so, they must also meet all of the above safety requirements.
  • Insurance: When a vehicle has a seating capacity of more than 15 passengers including the driver, passenger carriers are required to have a minimum of $5 million public liability insurance. Ask for proof of financial responsibility.
  • Operating authority: Ask for the carrier's USDOT identification number and its MC number. The MC number represents interstate operating authority issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Using the MC number, you may obtain insurance information about the carrier on the Internet at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov. Using the U.S. DOT identification number, you may obtain safety information about the carrier on the Internet or by calling (800) 832-5660.

Source: FMCSA.gov

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Port Charlotte accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Port Charlotte injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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