Is a Tour Bus Inherently Dangerous?
In a study conducted in 2012, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that certain tour and charter buses were seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal traffic accident than city and other metro transit-type buses. The study was focused specifically on what the NTSB called “curbside bus companies,” carriers who ran between different cities or municipalities, and who picked up their passengers somewhere other than at a bus terminal.
One of the principal concerns highlighted by the study was the absence of regulation of such operators by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA typically monitors established bus line locations, and regularly conducts inspections of vehicles at bus terminals. The curbside bus companies tend to have business only by appointment (times are not identifiable) and typically pick up passengers at a non-traditional location, such as a school, church or mall parking lot. The lack of schedule and location make it extremely difficult for federal officials to oversee compliance with federal regulations. In addition, the FMSCA has candidly admitted that it lacks the financial resources to track down and regulate most operators in the curbside bus industry.
The study showed that curbside bus companies with fewer than 10 buses, or that had been in operation for less than 10 years, were far more likely to be involved in serious accidents, or be in violation of federal regulations. They also noted that the smaller, less-experienced companies were more inclined to violate federal laws governing how many hours a bus driver works over a given period of time, leading to driver fatigue, the major cause of bus accidents.
The single biggest safety risk presented by a tour bus involved the absence of seat belts. Most tour buses do not contain any type of restraint, causing occupants to suffer serious injury if a bus suddenly stops or rolls over. Bus operators say that the installation of seat belts would be too expensive, and maintain that they would have difficulty enforcing the use of seat belts.
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To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside tour bus accident injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 9516820488. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.