FMCSA Needs to Get Tough on Unsafe Bus Companies to Prevent Accidents

In spite of the federal administration’s recent moves towards bus safety, Missouri personal injury lawyers continue to find far too many accidents caused by unsafe operators. A bus driver involved in a tour bus accident in Virginia last week that killed four people is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter. In the aftermath of the deadly accident, it has emerged that the bus had been cited several times by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for safety violations.

In fact, the bus company Sky Express should have been ordered to park its vehicles for the safety violations, but the federal agency decided to grant it an extension to appeal. During this extension period, a tour bus belonging to Sky Express flipped over on Interstate 95 in Virginia, killing four people and injuring at least 50 passengers. The driver of the bus has confirmed that he had been driving while tired.

Over the past two years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has cited the Sky Express for speeding, driving in excess of 10 hours without a break and other violations. In over 100 roadside inspections over a two-year period, the company had performed worse than more than 99.7% of bus operators. The company has failed time and again on driver fitness standards and work hour rule violations.

On April 12, the agency announced that it would order the company’s buses off the road, giving the company a 45-day waiting period. The agency gave the company 10 more days to analyze evidence and appeal. That decision proved deadly with one tour bus belonging to Sky Express crashing in Virginia. Soon after that accident, the FMCSA finally took the decision to order Sky Express to cease operations.

The federal agency is now being rebuked for its decision to allow an extension of Sky Express’ operations, instead of simply ordering those buses off the roads. Four innocent lives have been lost while the agency procrastinated. Hopefully lessons have been learned here, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will get tougher on unsafe bus companies.