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Charter bus accident leaves 8 dead and 44 injured

Bus travel has long been a staple of transportation in the United States. While buses do offer an affordable alternative to flying for intercity and interstate travel, those savings can come at a cost. For a number of reasons, charter bus accidents are surprisingly common and surprisingly deadly.

One of the worst crashes in recent history happened earlier this month in Texas. The exact cause of the crash has yet to be determined, but it left eight people dead and another 44 passengers injured.

According to news sources, the charter bus was traveling on a rainy highway in Texas and was carrying 52 passengers on their way to a casino. The bus driver lost control of the vehicle, leading to a rollover crash on a flat stretch of road. Seven people died at the scene and the eighth died at the hospital a short time later.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for regulating interstate commercial traffic. It attempts to maintain regular inspections and safety ratings for bus and truck companies, but the agency does not have the funding or manpower to adequately regulate all carriers. In this particular case, the FMCSA would likely not have intervened prior to the crash because the company had a satisfactory safety rating.

As stated earlier, the cause of this crash has not yet been determined. But most charter bus crashes are predictable and preventable. Common problems include:

  • Companies that skimp on basic safety features in order to offer cut-rate fares
  • Companies failing to maintain and repair their vehicles, leading to brake failure and other problems
  • Drivers who have not been adequately screened for drug and alcohol use
  • Drivers who are dangerously fatigued due to ever-changing shifts and long hours behind the wheel
  • Companies that get shut down by the FMCSA due to safety problems, only to reopen again under a different name

If you ever travel between cities or states on a charter bus, please take some time to research the company providing services. Very low fares may seem too good to pass up, but the cost of riding with an unsafe company can be unaffordably high.

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