Blue Bell, PA (Law Firm Newswire) January 6, 2019 – Pennsylvania attorney Jon Ostroff is investigating the January 5, 2020 crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that involved a bus, two tractor-trailers, and a passenger car. The multi-vehicle collision killed five people and injured more than 60. Ostroff, who has served as lead counsel on numerous bus and truck crash cases, indicates that fatigue likely had a role in yesterday’s crash.
“Having reviewed the preliminary information about the incident,” Ostroff said, “I believe that the now deceased bus driver may have been too tired to be behind the wheel, which led to his failure to negotiate a highway curve, then up an embankment, rolled over, and was struck by two trucks.”
January 5th Crash Similar to Prior Crashes Involving Bus Driver Fatigue
Ostroff has represented victims of bus and truck crashes for 30 years as founding partner of Ostroff Injury Law. He has appeared on CNN to discuss the danger that results from the failure of transportation companies to adequately establish and enforce rules to prevent fatigue-related crashes. Ostroff represented 23 victims from six different countries and many states around the U.S. who were injured or killed in an October 2013 Greyhound bus and truck crash on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania. This crash occurred when the bus operator slammed into the rear of a highly visible tractor-trailer without ever applying her brakes. After a seven-week jury trial, Ostroff proved that Greyhound failed to enforce rules intended to assure that its drivers receive sufficient rest before and during long, evening bus routes.
The 2013 Greyhound bus crash is similar to the January 5, 2020 Pennsylvania Turnpike crash in numerous ways, including:
• Long routes between New York and Ohio
• Nighttime operation
• Crashes in the middle of the night
• Highway crashes that occurred well into the route, after many hours of driving on dark, rural Pennsylvania highways
• Explosive, high-speed collisions involving a driver who failed to appropriately react to clearly visible objects
In 2009, another crash occurred on the Pennsylvania Turnpike when a Greyhound bus driver fell asleep, lost control at a curve, and rolled the bus. Several of Ostroff’s clients were badly injured in this crash. “The facts in this case were also remarkably similar to yesterday’s crash,” Ostroff said. “The bus driver failed to negotiate a bend in the highway, and he struck the concrete divider separating the east-west lanes. He went straight at this curve, because he was too tired to react to it. His bus also rolled over at highway speed and seriously injured my clients.”
Ostroff Calls for Better Enforcement of Fatigue Policies
While Ostroff held the bus drivers accountable in both of these cases, he urges that a greater responsibility belongs to their employer. “Bus companies are responsible for ensuring their drivers are fit to transport passengers, especially on long, Interstate, evening routes,” Ostroff said. “They are responsible for establishing and enforcing safety rules as well as training their drivers to assess and manage their own fatigue.”
Across the U.S., bus companies fail to actively manage and enforce policies intended to prevent fatigued drivers from causing crashes. It’s typically their passengers, for whom they are responsible for safely transporting, who pay the ultimate price. Ostroff has spent many years advocating for the bus industry to establish and enforce better rules related to driver fatigue.
“I believe the January 5th crash was preventable,” Ostroff said. “This is yet another tragic example of what happens when bus companies ignore the cost of safety and focus too much on profit. The companies owe it to their passengers to safely protect and transport them. Sadly, this horrific bus and truck crash needlessly took the lives of five people, including a nine-year-old girl. The bus industry must pay greater attention to driver fatigue to prevent another crash like this from happening again.”
Jon Ostroff, Esq.
518 E Township Line Rd, Suite 100
Blue Bell, PA 19422