California Bus Crash Kills 13, Raises Questions about Deadly Tour Buses

Seldom a month goes by without us reading about deadly tour buses. The tour bus industry is facing more questions after 13 people died and 31 injured in a wreck in California this weekend.

Reports suggest the bus plowed into the back of a truck at a high rate of speed. I was appalled to read about the loss of life and severe injuries in this crash. My thoughts are with the families of those who died and the injured.

A report in the Chicago Tribune stated a maintenance crew had slowed traffic down on Interstate 10 shortly before the vehicles crashed just north of Palm Springs.  The work had gone on for hours without incident police said.

Here, I describe deadly tour bus accidents

California Highway Patrol Border Division Chief Jim Abele said the bus was carrying 44 people. The bus was traveling so fast, about 15 feet of the tractor trailer ended up inside the bus.

The Tribune report said it is not yet known if alcohol, drugs or fatigue played a role in this deadly crash.

The 1996 MCI bus was operated by USA Holiday. It was returning to Los Angeles from the Red Earth Casino near Salton Sea, according to reports. It had covered 35 miles of a 135-mile round trip. Abele said it lacked seat belts and probably didn’t have a black box, given its age.

The bus driver was among the fatalities. The truck driver was injured in the wreck.

Abele said the bus had been inspected in 2014, 2015 and, also April of this year. No mechanical or other problems were reported.

Deadly Tour Buses Lead to Crackdown

In the aftermath of an incident like this, the investigation will look at the bus driver and the company. In August, a tour bus crashed on California’s Highway 99, killing four. Media reports revealed the driver had multiple past violations including driving a bus with a suspended license.

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a team to California to investigate the latest bus crash.

In 2012, the Department of Transportation announced a massive crackdown on unsafe tour bus companies, reported CNN.

The department shut down 26 bus operators for breaking federal safety rules in the wake of fatal crashes in Caroline County, Virginia and in New York where a tour bus hit a roadside barrier, killing 15 passengers.

If you have lost a loved one in a bus crash or if you have been injured, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against an operator. Please call us today for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.

Griff O'Hanlon

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