Last month, a tour bus accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike claimed the lives of the bus driver and the Seton Hill University women’s lacrosse coach, who was pregnant with a child. The tragic accident was one of several that have occurred recently involving tour buses, including one that occurred today in Texas.
The Texas crash involved a charter bus that crashed outside of Dallas and left two people dead and dozens injured. Even though the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been cracking down on the tour bus industry over the past few months and has shut down more than a dozen carriers, it appears serious safety problems still exist.
Just last week, the administration said that a team of more than 50 safety investigators would be tasked with conducting a more thorough probe of “higher risk” bus companies throughout the country. The agency also asked state and local police to join in the effort to shut down dangerous tour bus companies.
Even though there have been several high-profile tour bus accidents to occur throughout the country recently, experts say it is unclear whether the industry has actually become more dangerous. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there were 54 tour bus accident fatalities in 2011, which was 10 more than in 2010.
Of the dozen-plus bus companies that were shut down by the FMCSA this month, nearly half were considered to post “imminent hazards.” One of these companies was Fung Wah, a popular discount tour bus service that operates between New York City and Boston. The company had a long record of accidents and safety violations.
Source: NBCDFW, “Deadly Texas Bus Crash Coincides with Safety Crackdown,” Jon Schuppe, April 11, 2013