Justice for Victims of Truck and Bus Accidents Caused by Drivers Being Forced to Work too Many Hours
In the last few years, our firm has undertaken multiple cases against bus companies and trucking companies, in which people were killed and catastrophically injured because a driver had been forced to drive more than the maximum allowable number of hours. Unfortunately, such accidents are all too frequent, owing—at least in part—to insufficient federal oversight of these companies.
Recently, we filed a case against the Canadian company, Mi Joo Tour and Travel, the operators of bus tours of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Idaho. The sole driver of one of Mi Joo’s bus tours drove between 10 and 12 hours a day, in order to meet the demands of a tight travel itinerary. On the last day of one tour, he left Boise, Idaho early in the morning, and— three hours later, oblivious to signs on the icy Oregon interstate highway that warned of hazardous conditions—failed to slow down , lost control of the bus, and collided with a guardrail. The bus spun around and crashed down a steep embankment, rolling at least once before it landed. Nine passengers were killed, and 39 others were severely injured.
Multiple lawsuits were filed in different jurisdictions, alleging diverse causes of action. Allegations were made that the tour operator, Mi Joo, was vicariously liable for the driver’s failure to follow hours-of-service regulations, and to heed road and traffic warnings. In addition to negligence claims, it was alleged that the bus had several maintenance and product defects that contributed to the accident. Investigations indicate that at least one tire failed to meet the required standards for the particular driving conditions. Some passengers claimed that they had asked the driver why there were chains on the tires going to one location but not coming back, suggesting that something was undeniably wrong.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ordered Mi Joo to cease operations, and cited the driver for excessive driving hours. The FMCSA also noted, in an out- of-service order, that it had cited Mi Joo in 2010-2011 for violating drug- and alcohol-testing regulations, and had suspended the company for two months in 2011, until it paid an agency fine. During those investigations, the FMCSA uncovered multiple safety violations.
Accidents such as these, and the legal actions that ensue, demonstrate the need for better regulatory oversight— and, indeed, for an overhaul of the federal system that regulates motor carriers and buses engaged in interstate transportation. They also suggest that the FMCSA must increase the frequency and depth of compliance reviews of carriers that are subject to prior out-of-service orders. After all, the companies that operate these vehicles owe the highest duty of care to fare-paying passengers.
The Philadelphia bus accident lawyers of Reiff and Bily have over 34 years of experience representing victims and families of those catastrophically injured or killed in trucking and bus accidents. Our lawyers have been recognized as among the top lawyers in the United States. They are members of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and have been noted by their peers to have the highest possible rating in both legal abilities and ethical standards. Reiff and Bily always offers a free, no obligation consultation. Call them toll free, at 1-800-421-9595.