Accidents involving buses have the potential for widespread devastation due to the large number of occupants that are left vulnerable to serious injury on impact. Further, buses are not required to have seatbelts, so most passengers are left defenseless in the event of a crash.
It would be reasonable to assume that tour buses are strictly regulated due to the high volume of passengers that they transport. Unfortunately, this is not the case as the tour bus industry is largely unregulated. These tour buses draw a large appeal with their cheap prices. However, these cheap prices mean that to turn a better profit these companies cut corners critical to safety. This most typically manifests itself in a failure to ensure vehicle maintenance, a failure to conduct drug and alcohol testing of the drivers and a failure to look into the driving records of the tour bus operators.
This cutting of corners is leading to a serious loss of life that could easily be prevented around the country. Last month, a tour bus crashed in Oregon when it hit a patch of ice and went careening down an embankment. It was found that the driver of the crashed bus worked 92 hours in the preceding seven days before the crash, far in excess of the federal limit of 70 hours. The result was devastation: nine killed and 39 injured just after Christmas.
Many individuals in Pennsylvania will ride a tour bus from Philadelphia to New York for as little as $20. Unfortunately, riders do not realize the bodily risk they could be facing. Following fatal crashes, most tour bus companies will be found in violation of multiple federal regulations. While they are often shut down, this does nothing to bring back the victims. Fortunately, there are methods available through which victims that are impacted under such circumstances can hold a tour bus company financially liable for their negligence.
While this does not entirely rectify the situation, remuneration can elicit a sense of closure and justice in such grim and negligent happenings.
Source: CNN Travel, “Bus company in fatal Oregon crash banned from U.S.,” Mike M. Ahlers, Jan. 9, 2013