Buses are an efficient and cost effective mode of transportation for trips both short and long. From charter services for trips and tours to local transportation, buses serve an important role in transporting thousands of passengers daily. While many bus companies do follow federal safety guidelines, others do not, leaving unwitting passengers in potentially hazardous situations. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration there were 67,000 crashes involving buses in the US in 2015. Let’s explore some of the common ways that bus companies can put passengers at risk:
Poorly maintained vehicles
Buses have to be properly maintained and regularly serviced in order to be safe for the roadways. A bus that’s been poorly maintained and neglected is a danger to all, not just passengers and the driver. It puts others on the roads at risk, since bus accidents can occur as a result of a malfunction. Drivers also need to maintain a level of responsibility in reporting known or potential mechanical issues with the vehicles that they operate.
Hiring unqualified drivers
In order to operate a bus, drivers need to have obtained their CDL, or commercial driver’s license. In 2012, a nationwide investigation by federal authorities discovered that multiple major bus companies had hired unqualified drivers who did not have the proper license. Drivers should also undergo drug and alcohol screenings to ensure that they’re safe to get behind the wheel. Failure to comply with these requirements can lead to the hiring of unskilled drivers who have not received the proper training.
Another issue with some bus companies is overworking their drivers. There are limits to how many hours drivers may be behind the wheel. Companies dealing with a lack of qualified drivers may make their employees work more hours in a single shift than are legally permitted. Drivers who are behind the wheel while tired pose a significant risk to passengers and other motorists. Regulations have been put in place to ensure that drivers are not impaired by fatigue while on the road.
Lack of proper registration and insurance
Just like car owners are required to have their vehicles registered and insured, bus companies must also obtain the proper registration and have insurance on all of their vehicles. They need to maintain continuous coverage while operating, including personal injury, blanket contractual liability, and comprehensive liability insurance. Failure to obtain and keep current the proper registration and insurance puts their riders at risk, especially in the event of an accident. Bus companies that do not register their vehicles and hold the proper insurance policies can be considered negligent.
Many people across the country rely daily on the services that bus operators provide. From city and local transportation services to charter companies operating tours and interstate trips, bus companies should be in compliance with all applicable laws. Bus companies have a duty to follow safety guidelines and regulations. When they fail to do so, they put passengers and others on the roadway at risk, and should be held accountable.
If you or a loved one were injured in a bus accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. The experienced attorneys at Mazow| McCullough PC can get you the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact us today at (978) 741-8000 or (855) 693-9084.