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Low-Fare Buses Seven Times More Likely to Be Involved in Fatal Crashes

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New findings from the National Transportation Safety Board suggest that bus companies that cut costs are also cutting corners when it comes to safety. Low-fare, privately operated “curbside” buses are seven times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than other interstate buses, according an NTSB report released on November 1, 2011.

The buses identified as most dangerous are those that pick and drop off passengers in parking lots and on street corners rather than bus depots. And while, as the Los Angeles Times notes, the low cost of trips on curbside buses "have helped make them the fastest-growing mode of transportation since 2005, there’s a worrying downside. Driver fatigue and safety violations by the companies that operate the buses are rampant. In fact, unsafe operators often change company names to avoid penalties and further inspections.

As experienced Virginia mass transit accident injury attorneys, my colleagues and I are well aware of these problems. For instance, a tour bus crashed on the I-95 near Richmond, VA, on May 31, 2011, leaving four passengers dead and many others injured. The driver of that bus was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving after he admitted falling asleep at the wheel, and an investigation into the North Carolina (NC) bus company SkyExpress revealed numerous safety violations.

Low-fare buses had come under increased federal and state agencies after an earlier crash in March 2011, when a bus returning to New York’s Chinatown slid into a pole and 14 people died.

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About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.