Yet another catastrophic bus accident, this one occurring early in the morning hours on Saturday, October 6th on eastbound Interstate 80 in Wayne, New Jersey is once again raising questions about the safety of charter bus trips coming into the New York metropolitan area and about the adequacy of Canadian bus company training of their drivers prior to dispatching them on trips into the United States. Federal investigators are probing the crash of a tour bus from Canada that injured 23 people in New Jersey and officials with the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Safety Administration are trying to determine whether the bus company could legally operate in the U.S.
This incident has striking similarities to the one which occurred in January, 2005 involving the Windsor Wildcats, an under 21 female Canadian hockey team, on a roadway near Geneseo, New York which resulted in 4 deaths and many other catastrophic injuries. In the Wildcats accident, the Canadian bus company had hired an inexperienced driver to make the trip. Operating on virtually no sleep, the driver fell asleep at the wheel, veering off of the road and striking a 70 foot tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the highway. The driver in that case, Ryan Comfort, originally alleged that a piece of metal in the roadway had caused him to veer off of the road, but he later retracted that statement and admitted that there had not been any obstruction on the roadway. Already in the New Jersey case, the driver, 51-year-old Neville Larmond of Toronto, told authorities that another driver had cut him off, forcing his bus off the road and down an embankment before coming to rest on its side.
While it remains to be seen what the cause of this tragic accident was, whether the driver had sufficient training and/or whether he was within the hours of service regulations at the time of the accident, these tragic bus incidents are becoming all too commonplace. Bus companies need to start thinking more about safety and less about profits when making decisions. They need to start screening their drivers to make sure they are competent, training them adequately to make sure that they are prepared for these long charter trips, and enforcing the hours of service regulations to make sure that their drivers are not operating buses when fatigued. If you have questions about a bus accident case, contact Marc S. Albert for a free case evaluation.
Marc S. Albert is a partner with the firm of Law Offices of Marc S. Albert, specializing in personal injury and medical malpractice litigation. This past year, Mr. Albert was responsible for securing a $17.89 Million settlement on the above-cited Wildcats bus accident case for 11 victims of the accident.