For the last 33 years, I have concerned myself with prosecuting legal cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful deaths resulting from bus accidents, truck accidents, and car accidents. In the last few years, I have all too often met with families who lost a mother, father, or child as a result of extensive safety violations that contributed to their death.
Recently, it was determined that U.S. regulators failed to shut down a discount bus operator, Sky Express, after finding extensive and obvious safety violations prior to the accident. Four people were killed. Our office represents an individual who sustained some of the worst injuries that one can imagine in one of these bus accidents and like many of us, we are unable to comprehend how the discount bus carrier was operating after being cited for 204 violations and 95 roadside inspections in the ten months preceding the accident. The facts in this case are egregious. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had conducted four safety reviews in four years at Sky Express which is unusual for an agency that inspects 2 to 3% of buses a year due to limited resources. So, in effect, this company was prominent on the radar screen. The crash and resulting injuries and deaths were entirely preventable. While many individuals and non-specializing lawyers may point the finger at a tired driver and the owner of the bus company, in this case, federal regulators failed in their oversight of an industry ripe with issues, problems, and safety concerns. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also issued a blistering report on Tuesday, July 31st when NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman also blamed ineffective government oversight for the accident.
As a consumer safety advocate attorney who has investigated thousands of car accidents, fatal bus, and truck crashes over the last three decades, I am always amazed when manufacturers, owners, and operators, fail to make changes in the name of public safety including stronger roofs, safety belts, and maintenance issues, and my concern raises to an even higher level when despite notice of these problems, the government takes no corrective action.
It is my hope as a committed commercial vehicle accident attorney that the passengers who died and those who suffered catastrophic injuries will serve as a monument of action and that those responsible will be held deeply accountable for the damages sustained by the victims in a horrific accident that should have never happened.