After Numerous Accidents, The City Cracks Down On Chinatown Bus Companies

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Chinatown bus lines, the private transportation industry that has arisen in the Chinatown communities of the East Coast, have been involved in many fatal bus accidents and are repeatedly cited for unsafe practices and reckless driving. In the past few months alone, there have been four Chinatown bus accidents.

Bus companies are liable for the negligence of their drivers, negligent hiring of drivers without performing background checks, as well as for failing to abide by federal and state safety requirements.

In May 2011, a bus headed to New York City’s Chinatown crashed in Virginia killing 4 and injuring 54 passengers. The Sky Express bus driver was charged with reckless driving. Authorities blamed driver’s fatigue for the crash that ended in an overturned bus and temporarily blocked northbound traffic on I-95. Bus drivers’ log books contain evidence as to length of driver shifts and the amount of hours a driver has rested between shifts. The bus company, Sky Express Inc., was subsequently taken out of service by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for violating multiple federal safety regulations. Days before the accident the Department of Transportation announced that a crackdown on passenger buses conducted in the first two weeks of May put 127 drivers and 315 vehicles out-of-service after over 3,000 unannounced inspections.

A World Wide Travel bus crashed in the Bronx last month killing 15 people. The bus driver allegedly lied about the status of his license on an application. One of the injured passengers brought a lawsuit charging World Wide Travel with failing to execute a proper background check regarding the driver’s falsified application. Investigations by the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Transportation led to multiple arrests of commercial bus drivers using false names to obtain their drivers licenses. Last May, a driver from World Wide Travel was cited for working longer than the allowable 10-hour shift. World Wide Travel’s other violations include shoddy log-book record keeping. Records show its buses have been in two accidents over the past two years. Still, many operators continue to load their buses with passengers despite serious violation histories.

In March 2011, a Super Luxury Tours bus was involved in a crash on the New Jersey Turnpike killing two people and injuring 40. Super Luxury Tours has been cited with numerous violations, and is under alert for unsafe driving, fatigued driving and driver fitness violations, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records. The safety violations put the operator in the 99.6th percentile for unsafe driving violations, including speeding and disobeying traffic signals. Records show company buses have also been involved in four crashes in the past two years.

Earlier this month a Fung Wah bus tipped over while rounding an off-ramp on a trip from New York to Boston. Thirty-four passengers were hurt. Police issued more than 150 moving violation tickets to bus drivers during the state-level follow-up effort aimed at improving safety standards for drivers and equipment.

Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP has many years of experience in representing victims of bus accidents. We recently settled a case for $11,000,000 involving a bus passenger who was injured when a bus struck a bump in a road under repair. If you have been injured in a buss accident call us for a free consultation.

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