Tour and charter bus services have become very prevalent in the last couple of decades. From sight-seeing tours to fund raisers, the private bus industry has grown. The private bus industry's expansion involves a large number of bus accidents. Many of these bus accidents have fatal consequences. The Missouri truck accident lawyers, like many concerned about the bus industry across the country, applaud recent regulations for the industry but also hope for more.
On August 3 a tour bus operating out of Pennsylvania rolled over on Interstate 81 in New York. Initial reports from New York State Police indicate the driver may have been traveling too fast for road conditions. The road was wet from rain and in some places had half of an inch of standing water. In this bus accident, the bus driver lost control and veered off the side of the road where the bus rolled over onto its top.
Why Missouri Bus Accident Lawyers are Concerned
While no one was seriously injured in this tour bus accident, one woman was pinned under the tour bus for more than an hour. And this is the third tour bus accident in as many weeks in New York alone. And Missouri roadways are not exempt from bus accidents either.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a special reporting system called FARS, fatality analysis reporting system. The report system queries all fatal accidents on all roadways in the United States. The data for 2010 is not available yet, but in 2009 there were 221 fatal bus accidents, which include school bus accidents, public transit accidents, and other transit or tour bus accidents. And 7 of these 221 fatal bus accidents involved a rollover.
Passenger bus drivers and charter bus companies are regulated by the Department of Transportation and are required to adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. But there are several exclusions and exemptions.
Missouri Tour Bus and Passenger Bus Exemptions
One of the FMCSA exclusions for passenger or motor coach operators is from the financial responsibility insurance requirement. Private motor carriers may not have adequate liability insurance. Also missing are some safety requirements such as seat belts or reinforced roofs and windows. And if the tour bus operates within 100 air miles from home base (the work reporting station), the driver is not required to maintain a driving log.
FMCSA Regulations That Do Apply To Tour Bus Companies
- Controlled substances and alcohol use testing
- Commercial driver's license
- Driver cannot drive longer than 10 hours at a time
- Driver cannot drive after 15 hours of continuous service
- Driver cannot drive after 60 hours of duty in 7 consecutive days
- Minimum physical qualification standards in certain situations
- The passenger bus company is responsible for training, driver awareness, and compliance of regulations
What Missouri Tour Bus Accident Lawyers Can Do After a Tour Bus Accident
Tour bus drivers are required to carry and maintain a CDL license. Tour bus drivers and tour bus companies are required to train, monitor, and adhere to FMCSA and Missouri Department of Transportation regulations. However quite often the problem lies in policing the tour bus companies and their drivers. There are not enough inspectors to go around. A tour bus company can become careless or lax or even intentionally violate regulations.
If you or someone you know is the victim of a tour bus accident you have the right to find out if that tour bus company or bus driver was adhering to federal regulations and Missouri state laws. You have the right to discover if there was negligence or wrongdoing. Talk to a lawyer to see what can be done. Schedule a free consultation meeting with a Missouri bus accident lawyer at one of our offices and see if you have a case.
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