The bus that veered off Highway 99 in Merced County early morning on August 2, 2016 resulting in four deaths and several serious injuries had an issue with its brake warning system as recently as April, CBS News reports. The news outlet looked at the Fresno-based bus company, Autobuses Coordinados USA’s safety record and found that it had more than 50 violations tied to its drivers and buses just over the last two years.
A Litany of Safety Violations
There were no crashes on the company’s record. But in nearly one-third of those inspections, the feds ordered vehicles out of service. The same bus involved in this week’s crash had problems during an April 28 inspection. Federal records show inspectors found violations for having “no or a defective brake warning device.” The device warns the driver if there is an issue with the vehicle’s brakes.
Also, in February 2015, a driver of the same bus was caught driving with a suspended commercial driver’s license. An inspection that same month found a damaged or discolored windshield and an inoperable lamp. The company has also faced violations for false driver logs showing record of duty, steering system issues and for having faulty or no bus emergency exits. Despite this litany of violations, the government rates the bus company’s record as satisfactory, which means that there was no evidence of non-compliance with safety requirements.
The Issue of Accountability
So, four lives were lost and 16 people were injured in this horrific crash where the bus crashed into a freeway pole. The pole sliced the bus in half. Many of the injured victims lost their limbs and were catastrophically injured. Who is accountable for those life-changing injuries? Who is responsible for those people’s medical expenses and lost livelihoods? Who will help them care for their families?
These are often questions that get lost in the chaotic aftermath of such tragedies. In this case, we’re talking about a bus company that had lax safety standards. If this crash was the result of the bus company’s callous attitude toward passenger safety, they should be held accountable for such negligence. Injured victims of this bus crash and families of the decedents would be well advised to contact an experienced California bus accident attorney who will fight tirelessly for their rights and help them secure maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.