Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) January 30, 2014 — While the accidents themselves were unrelated, a pair of bus accidents in California have brought attention to troubling bus safety factors.
On December 19, 2013, two separate tour buses crashed on California highways within 30 minutes and 40 miles of one another.
“Boarding a bus should not pose a risk to your life,” stated personal injury attorney David Lietz. Lietz is not currently involved in any cases connected with the crashes.
The first bus, operated by Sina Coach, may have been traveling at unsafe speeds on rainy roads. The driver, Jian Fei Duan, 35, was traveling at about 65-mph when the casino tour bus struck the center median on the freeway. It then swerved and tipped onto its side across the road, blocking two lanes of traffic. Duan suffered minor injuries, and all of his passengers were transported to a nearby hospital to treat minor to moderate injuries of their own.
The second bus’s crash caused one fatality. This bus, operated by Five Star Bus Charter, began to swerve on the roads, and its driver lost control while traveling at about 55-mph. It too flipped onto its side, causing passenger injuries and blocking roadways less than 40 miles away from the Sina accident. Most passengers were thrown from the bus. In all, 21 were injured, and Tayde Murguia, 64, died after being partially ejected from and trapped underneath the bus. The driver’s name has not yet been disclosed.
“Generally, bus travel is quite safe,” Lietz explained. “But since mandatory seatbelt inclusion regulations on buses are still pending, bus accidents, when they do occur, frequently cause more harm to passengers than one would otherwise expect. Even this sad situation could have been much worse. ”
Pointing out that only careful examination uncovers the causes behind these unfortunate accidents, Lietz said, “The companies operating these buses may need to be investigated as lawsuits emerge. Proper driver screening, driver exhaustion and poor mechanical maintenance may all have contributed to the accidents. Did these companies put their passengers at any undue risk?”
Sina operates 26 buses and employs 25 drivers. In the last two years, it has seen no crashes, but the company has been cited for speeding, bad brakes, bald tires and for operating without periodic inspections.
Five Star is much smaller, operating only two buses and employing two drivers. They have faced two crashes in the past two years. The company’s corporate registration was suspended two weeks before the accident for tax and penalty failures, and was still suspended at the time of the accident.
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