The federal government is stepping up its crackdown of unsafe buses in California issuing an order that shuts down five “unsafe” bus companies. According to an NBC news report, the move came a well after three major tour bus crashes on Southern California’s highways.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered the Los Angeles-based bus company called “It’s Good Promotion” to stop operations right away. This company ran buses from Los Angeles to Mexico. Officials shut down this business after finding 17 serious safety defects in one of the company’s buses.
But, after an investigation, officials uncovered that It’s Good Promotion was illegally allowing at least four other unsafe bus companies that had been shut down by the government to continue operating by using its name and federal registration to evade authorities. Some of the serious violations uncovered by officials at It’s Good Promotion include: allowing a driver who tested positive for illegal drugs to continue driving; using drivers who did not have valid U.S. commercial driver’s licenses; not maintaining buses properly; employing “unfit” drivers. The bus operators could face civil and criminal penalties including prison time.
Recent SoCal Bus Crashes
On December 23, 2013, 13 people were injured in a tour bus accident after the bus driver lost control and crashed the bus. In that case, officials suspected that excessive speed was a factor. On Dec. 19, there were two other tour bus crashes, both on the 15 Freeway, in which two people were killed and dozens were injured. Speed and rainy weather may have played a part in those accidents as well, officials had said.
Bus Companies’ Responsibilities
Although federal officials have rounded up and shut down a handful of rogue bus companies, there are many still out there operating budget buses at low cost while ignoring the safety of their passengers. Bus companies have a responsibility and a legal obligation to ensure that passengers are transported safely.
Anyone who has been injured in a bus crash has the right to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Families of deceased bus accident victims can file a wrongful death claim against the bus company seeking damages as well. An experienced California bus accident lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.