A charter bus traveling from Texas crashed into an overturned tractor-trailer rig in a bus accident in Alabama last week. The bus was traveling on Interstate 10 near the Mississippi line during the dark morning hours Monday, according to The Washington Post.
The bus was filled with teenage students. According to authorities, one passenger was listed in serious condition while the rest sustained minor injuries.
Since 2000, there have been nearly 1,500 fatal motor-vehicle accidents that were classified as school transportation-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Many buses travel through our state throughout the year. Residents and visitors often rely on these forms of transportation to get them to and from their destination safely.
Our Alabama personal injury attorneys have observed that a recent boom in low-fare busing options has come with a boom in low-quality busing options. As these companies skimp on their ticket charges, they’re skimping in other departments — passenger safety — to make up for it.
The bus was carrying 48 teens and two chaperons from Del Rio, Texas, with a destination of Orlando, Florida. Just a couple miles inside Alabama’s state line on I-10, the bus slammed into the trailer of an 18-wheeler, causing it to overturn, reports Greg Eubanks, an Alabama state trooper spokesman in Mobile.
“The bus (driver) just didn’t see it,” Eubanks said. A second bus also full of students from Del Rio was present but not involved in the crash, he said.
Authorities report that the uninjured students were taken to a motel. It has not been determined whether the students would continue the trip.
Because of the accident, troopers were forced to reroute traffic off the eastbound side of the interstate. The overturned truck was loaded with electronics, including computers. The electronics were scattered across the highway after the accident.
“During this heavy summer travel season, we will remain alert and remove from our roads any passenger bus or driver that places motorists at risk,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In an effort to keep passengers of these commercial carriers safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has partnered with its state and local law enforcement to conduct more than 3,000 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections. These inspections resulted in more than 440 unsafe buses or drivers being removed from the country’s roadways. The unannounced inspection handed out-of-service citations to 127 drivers and 315 vehicles.
“The public deserves safe passenger bus transportation every ride,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “FMCSA and its law enforcement partners will not rest until we weed out every unsafe passenger carrier and driver. Our ongoing strike force inspections are essential to protecting motorists and reaching our goal of zero fatalities involving commercial vehicles.”
Many of these companies were reported to have been overworking their drivers, sending them out on the road for long hours after little sleep or rest. This strategy was used to help cut costs. Drivers are now looking at stricter regulations from the Administration that would cap the number of hours they can work weekly.
Travelers are urged to investigate the busing companies they may ride with this summer. Your lowest-fare option may not always be your best bet, but it could be the most dangerous.