Bus Crash Kills Eight On California Highway

On behalf of Brown & Crouppen, P.C. posted in Motor Vehicle Accident on Monday, February 4, 2013

A bus carrying passengers on a ski trip, crashed on a mountain road in the San Bernardino National Forest, killing at least eight. The bus apparently went out of control, struck two other vehicles, flipped, and ended up lying across two lanes of the road. Initial reports from the California Highway Patrol suggest speed was a factor in the crash.

The tour company spokesperson said 38 people had left Tijuana yesterday morning for a day of skiing in the mountains. The bus company’s safety record appears to be good, with no crashes in the last two years, according to the Associated Press story. Another bus accident occurred on Saturday in Boston, where a bus carrying 42 passengers on a high school trip hit an overpass, leaving 35 people injured.

The accident scene on California route 38 was described as chaotic, and a spokeswoman for Caltrans said, “It’s really a mess up there with body parts.” A manager for the tour company that organized the trip was quoted as saying, “The information that we have is that the bus’ brakes failed and the accident occurred.”

In recent years there have been numerous high-profile commercial bus accidents, leaving scores of passengers killed and injured. In December, another bus crashed on an Oregon mountain road, killing nine and injuring 39.

Bus safety is on the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) “Most wanted list,” which includes requests for better safety equipment on buses and better driver performance, which the NTSB finds “disproportionately factors in accidents.”

The NTSB and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are working on requiring higher standards for bus drivers and ensuring bus companies are properly hiring qualified drivers.

Source: Associated Press, “At least 8 people killed in Calif. bus crash,” February 4, 2013

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