NTSB Study Spotlights Dangers of Discount Tourist Bus Services

Last year’s horrific fatal bus crash in the Bronx that killed 15 passengers returning to New York City from a Connecticut casino struck fear into the hearts of bus commuters throughout New Jersey, New York and nationwide. Passengers who ride from urban centers to Atlantic City, Niagara Falls and other regional destinations for recreational outings have every right to expect the same safe travel that every bus company is required to provide.

A recent study released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the fatal bus accident rate for discount intercity carriers is alarmingly higher than the rate for conventional bus operations. The investigation was intended to define curbside bus companies as a distinct sector of the interstate motorcoach carrier industry, compare relative safety records, and evaluate existing federal safety oversight of these companies.

The NTSB defined curbside motorcoach operations as interstate bus companies that conduct scheduled trips between cities and serve passengers at locations other than bus terminals. For the most part, these operations pick up passengers at a series of advertised locations and bring them to destinations such as casinos and other attractions.

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Curbside carriers with ten buses or less, as well as companies that have operated for less than a decade, have both higher bus accident rates and higher violation rates during roadside inspections.
  • The six-year fatal accident rate for curbside carriers leading up to March 2011 (the date of the Bronx fatal bus crash) was seven times the rate of terminal-based bus operations.
  • The curbside nature of these operations reduces the chance that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can detect and enforce safety violations.
  • The FMCSA does not have adequate resources to ensure compliance with federal regulations due to a ratio of 1.15 investigators for every 1,000 motor carriers nationwide.
  • Bus driver fatigue, which is found to cause many bus accidents, is an ongoing safety concern.
  • The FMCSA needs broader authority to regulate the online ticket brokers that most curbside operators use.

When a tourist or charter bus outing leads to a personal injury or wrongful death, federal regulations are the last thing on the minds of passengers or surviving family members. The path to meaningful justice for those harmed by bus company negligence can be explained by a New Jersey motor vehicle accident attorney.

The attorneys at Aiello, Harris, Abate handle all types of head injury claims. You can contact us online or at (908) 561-5577 to reach any of our North and Central New Jersey law offices to arrange for a free consultation