Driver Negligence and Violation of Federal and State Law
Tour bus accidents are often caused by driver negligence, including texting or talking on a cell phone while driving, being too tired to drive safely, not paying attention to the road or other vehicles on the road, driving while intoxicated, or just simply driving poorly.
In addition to negligence, a driver may have violated federal or state laws:
- Hours of Driving. Federal laws limit charter bus drivers from driving more than 10 hours at a time. The laws, which have been adopted by most states, require drivers to take eight hours off in a work cycle where they drive 10 hours.
- DUI or DWI. Federal and state laws address the issue of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Speeding. In every state there are laws regarding the speed limit. States often require commercial vehicles to drive at slower speeds.
- Turning and Passing. All states have turning and passing laws. Some states have special laws for commercial vehicles.
- Right of Way. All states have right-of-way laws. The violation of these laws is one of the primary causes of crashes.
- Failure to Pay Attention. Bus drivers are held to a higher standard both in case law and statutory law. Some states have specific laws requiring drivers of commercial vehicles to use extra caution and pay more attention to what is happening around them. Also, pedestrians, people in wheel chairs, and others are given extra protection in some states, which require all drivers to pay special attention to them.
This is important: if a driver violates this or any other state or federal law, that driver will most likely be found negligent, and the driver, his or her employer, and the owner will be legally responsible to compensate injury victims and their families. Usually, the insurance companies pay settlement and verdict amounts.
Settlement and verdict amounts may include compensation for any of the following (past and future amounts where appropriate):
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of care and comfort
- Other damages.
Tour and Charter Bus News
New York Chinatown
Fifteen people were killed in a crash involving a motor coach owned by World Wide Travel of Greater New York and driven by Ophadell Williams, a convicted felon. The vehicle was traveling from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut to New York’s Chinatown when it flipped on its side and had its roof shorn off. The driver initially told the police that a passing semi tractor-trailer had clipped the World Wide Tours vehicle he was driving, causing him to lose control. But after interviewing the driver of the semi truck, the police are treating him as a witness, not a suspect, in their criminal investigation (http://www.reuters.com).
New Jersey Turnpike
A bus crashed March 14 on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing the driver and another person and injuring 41 others. It was owned by Super Luxury Tours Inc., of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The bus slammed into a guard rail and a concrete abutment while traveling south on the turnpike in East Brunswick. It had departed from Manhattan’s Chinatown, bound for Philadelphia. Troy Nguyen, 20, of Royersford, Pa., a passenger, died of head injuries at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J. Super Luxury Tours often rents out its buses to marketing companies that run the so-called Chinatown bus services (http://blogs.wsj.com).
One woman is dead and four people are injured after a motor passenger carrier and an 18-Wheeler crashed in Herman, WI (Dodge County) Saturday night. The accident involved a semi truck and motor passenger carrier. The bus flipped twice after the semi driver failed to yield at the intersection of Highway 33 and Highway P. Two people were in the truck: the driver, Kellie Bridges, and a female passenger, Shomari Jackson. They were both airlifted to the hospital. Janet Wickert of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a passenger, died in the crash. Another passenger, Patricia Kidd of Milwaukee, was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa. (http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/117892749.html ).