After yet another charter bus was involved in a fatal multi-vehicle accident in Queens last month, elected officials throughout the city have demanded better oversight over private bus companies. These companies are well-known for offering dirt-cheap rates between New York and major cities like Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Boston. But they’re also notorious for shamelessly disregarding the safety of their passengers, drivers, and all other motorists and pedestrians these buses encounter on New York’s busy streets.
Driver In Fatal Queens Charter Bus Accident Had History Of Dangerous Driving
In the days following the latest crash, details emerged regarding the driver of the Dahlia Group charter bus, who also died in the accident. Two years before this accident, the driver had been fired by the MTA after he caused an accident while driving drunk outside of work. He fled the scene and received a suspended jail sentence and 18 months of probation for driving under the influence and evading arrest.
Despite this checkered driving record, the driver was still hired by Dahlia Travel and Tours and trusted with the safety of hundreds of passengers each week. Unfortunately, this latest example of a safety violation is just one of many in a well-established pattern of negligence by charter bus companies in New York City.
Are Charter Buses Safe In New York City?
Several charter bus companies have histories of disregarding safety rules.
The Dahlia Group also had been involved in at least two other fatal bus accidents prior to the one in September. The company also has a history of speeding violations. Multiple lawsuits are currently in progress against the Dahlia Group for a February 2016 accident which occurred on I-95 in Connecticut when a charter bus tipped over, injuring 30 of the 55 passengers on board. In total, this company has been cited for at least seven safety violations since 2015.
According to a report by the New York Times, private charter bus operator Yep Tour is even worse. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company has received 210 safety violations in the past two years – with 34 violations for unsafe driving. The company had three of their buses seized by the New York City sheriff’s office after running up over $300,000 in unpaid fines. In spite of all this, the city still issued Yep Tour a permit months later.
Who Can Be Sued For A Charter Bus Accident In NYC?
After being injured or losing a loved in in a bus accident, many families wonder how they can get justice and financial support. When innocent passengers, other motorists, pedestrians, and others get seriously injured or even die in one of these accidents, it’s important to hold these companies and other negligent parties accountable for the damages they’ve caused.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, there are multiple parties who can be held liable in a charter bus accident lawsuit:
- The charter bus company – Examples of negligence by the bus company may include hiring a driver with a poor driving record or failure to enforce safety regulations.
- The driver – The driver can be held personally liable if he or she caused the accident through negligent driving, such as running through a red light.
- The city – New York City could also be named in a lawsuit if their negligence contributed to the accident. For example, an MTA bus driver may have been responsible for causing the accident, or perhaps the charter bus company was given a permit in spite of safety violations.
If you or a loved one was recently injured or killed in a bus accident in New York City, it’s important to explore your legal options. Our experienced Queens personal injury lawyers can help you determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit in a free consultation.