Bus accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm report that a charter bus recently overturned in eastern Missouri, sending as many as 20 students to the hospital. Fortunately, none of the injuries reported are life-threatening.
The bus was transporting students from the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton when it overturned while exiting Interstate 70. Between 16 and 20 children were taken to a nearby hospital in Columbia, mostly for broken bones or missing teeth. At least eight were admitted to the emergency room. The crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Friday, August 2, 2013, however it was not immediately clear what exactly caused the incident.
A similar though more fatal bus crash that occurred near Indianapolis, Indiana recently concluded with a final investigation report. The crash killed three people and injured 33 others on July 27, 2013 on Keystone Avenue. The driver told police that the bus’ brakes suddenly failed on the road, causing him to crash into a median just off an exit to Interstate 465.
The bus was returning from a summer camp in Michigan; the three killed included one chaperone and mother of five, along with a couple, whose two-year-old son survived the crash. Witnesses stated that the 68-year-old bus driver, also a member of the church, was speeding when the bus struck the concrete median less than two miles from the church.
In related news, officials in New York are currently investigating a commuter bus driver who crashed into a lamppost, which fell and killed an eight-month-old girl. The driver was reportedly using his cellphone at the time of the crash, and was subsequently charged with death by automobile.
The driver was employed with Boulevard Lines, and it is unclear whether or not the driver was even legally permitted to be on the road, as his shift was supposed to end at 1:45 a.m. The crash that killed the infant occurred at 1 p.m., twelve hours after the drivers’ shift was to end.
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If the driver began his shift any earlier than 9:45 a.m. that morning, it would be a direct violation of federal regulations, which require drivers of commercial buses to be off for at least eight consecutive hours before beginning another shift. The driver was involved in a minor auto accident in 2012 and has been issued six traffic tickets since 2011.
Boulevard Lines has an unfortunate history of violations, as two drivers have been taken off the road during inspections over the last two years. And after eight separate recent inspections, four of Boulevard’s buses were taken out of service.
The rest time requirements for charter and commercial bus drivers keeps the public safe by ensuring fatigued drivers stay off the road. American Trucking Associations, however, disagrees, and attempted to appeal such regulations in federal court recently. The Court of Appeals ultimately rejected the attempt, ending 14 years of wrangling between the trucking agencies and the U.S. Transportation Department, which establishes such rules.
The trucking associations oppose the longer rest breaks because experts assert they reduce productivity by about 3%, which translates to about $18 billion in additional costs. Despite this, the court ruled to keep an 11-hour limit on truckers’ driving days, along with 34-hour rest periods per week, which requires drivers to take off two consecutive nights. The court did, however, agree to vacate the rule requiring a 30-minute rest break for short-haul truck drivers.
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Bus and truck accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have decades of experience working with victims injured by the negligence of charter and commercial drivers. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to significant compensation through a lawsuit against the parties responsible.