Gwinnett County Tour Bus Crash: New Regulations Designed to Improve Safety


May 15, 2011

In light of a wave of recent tour bus accidents occurring across our nation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is committed to reviewing both regulatory and operational practices in the discount tour bus industry.

It is also going to make a critical review of the current entity responsible for safety in the industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This review is expected to take about six months and should result in legislative changes that will enhance safety in the tour bus industry. This request for action by a Senator and Congresswoman from New York came about because of a series of crashes that have left passengers dead up and down the East Coast over the last few years.

Just last month, fifteen people were killed when a tour bus crashed in the Bronx. The bus was returning from a Connecticut casino when the driver dozed off and went off the road and flipped the coach. The driver was found to have lied on his application with the bus company that hired him. He had previously had his license suspended, but the suspension had been under a different name that he had used with another company.

Right here in Georgia, a charter bus carrying 47 Gwinnett County high school students crashed when it swerved to avoid a car in front of it on highway 1-75. The bus went up an embankment and hit an overpass. Twenty students were injured, and one was airlifted to the hospital.

Some years ago, the NTSB made recommendations regarding tour bus safety that unfortunately still have not been implemented. A couple of those recommendations included that buses be equipped with:

  • Strong, crush resistant roofs that could withstand rollovers.
  • Anti-ejection windows that would prevent passengers from being thrown out of the bus.

Currently, several Senators and transportation safety advocates are pushing to pass the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act. The bill would move to improve commercial driver training requirements for tour bus drivers. It would also create a National Commercial Motor Vehicle Medical Registry to make sure that only medically qualified examiners conduct required physicals on tour bus drivers. The legislation would prohibit unqualified operators from driving tour buses. All tour bus drivers also would have to hold a valid medical certificate.

The fact that these motor carriers are cutting corners and hiring inexperienced people to drive their buses is putting consumers at risk. These bus accidents do not need to happen, and the resources are in place to prevent more fatalities down the road.

People often wonder whom they may seek compensation from if they are involved in a tour bus accident. It is often more than one party. Your Georgia tour bus attorney can help you with this, but some of the possible parties can include:

  • The person who drove the bus.
  • The owner of the bus, which can be an individual or a tour or charter company.
  • The company responsible for performing maintenance on the bus.
  • The manufacturer of the bus or any bus part may also be liable. The accident may have been caused by a defective part and involve a product liability claim.
  • The driver of other vehicles.

In a bus accident lawsuit, you may sue for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement and emotional distress. In the case of a wrongful death claim, you may sue for funeral expenses, loss of care and companionship and other damages. In some situations punitive damages can be recovered as well.

Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing bus accident victims throughout Georgia since 1984. If you or someone you love suffers serious injury or death in a bus accident anywhere in Georgia, we carefully investigate the cause of our clients’ accidents, as well as potential issues such as inadequate training or supervision of the bus driver or poor maintenance of the bus. We utilize our knowledge and experience with the special rules and regulations that govern common carriers. Our dedicated Georgia bus accident attorneys also verify that all special rules and timing requirements involved with suing a public entity are satisfied. We take care of seeking compensation for our clients’ injuries so that our clients can focus on healing.

Our experienced Georgia bus accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.