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Are Budget Charter Bus Companies Safe?

Last month a fatal charter bus accident killed three people in Queens, New York. This tragedy has called attention to a glaring, and growing, problem. Thousands of private bus companies with countless violations and terrible safety records continue to operate in the United States every day. While public transportation is closely regulated by local governments, private bus companies are not.

Dahlia Group, the bus line involved in last month’s fatal accident, has had two other fatal crashes. And the bus driver in the Queens crash, who is reported to have been speeding, has a past drunk driving conviction. As horrible as Dahlia’s record may sound, it’s far from the worst. Yep Tour is a private bus company currently operating in NYC. In the past two years, Yep has received more than 200 safety violations. Despite the fact that Yep has failed to pay more than $300,000 in fines, the city still issued a transportation permit to the Massachusetts-based company.

In the United States, there are currently more than 3,200 private bus companies, many of which have horrific safety violation records, and are notorious for overworking employees and overlooking vehicle maintenance. Unfortunately, these dangerous violations often go unnoticed until a tragic bus accident makes headlines. Budget bus companies certainly provide an in-demand service, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of riders’ lives. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Public Transportation isn’t Always Safer

At least not when it comes to the Boston area. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has recently been in the spotlight for serious safety violations, injuries, and even fatalities. Crushing debt may be at least partially to blame. Trains catching fire, speeding and texting bus drivers, train collisions, and bus-pedestrian crashes are just a few of the high-profile accidents marring MBTA’s reputation in recent years. The transportation agency’s $7.3 billion repair backlog certainly isn’t helping. At about 1.3 million rides per day and counting, the MBTA is the country’s fifth-largest transit system, but funding is only a fraction of that of peer agencies.

“The problem we have is a problem of literally decades of disinvestment,” former Massachusetts DOT director Jim Aloisi told Streetsblog. A MA injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a bus accident.

Local Law takes a Back Seat to Federal Law

Despite MBTA’s checkered past, public transportation is generally safer, and held to higher standards, than private companies. California state lawmakers attempted to improve private bus line safety regulations last year, following a fatal charter bus crash that killed 10 people. When he proposed the addition of certain safety features, State Senator Ricardo Lara learned the hard way that federal law is king when it comes to private bus lines. Local laws took a back seat, and his requests for safety windows and better data keeping were replaced with markedly weaker legislation, such as requiring drivers to show passengers how to use emergency exits.

“It is frustrating that local legislatures can’t do more to make buses safer, even if it just means putting recommendations made at the federal level into state law,” said Mr. Lara. “We got the most we could with safety lights and training for passengers, but our hands were tied by outdated federal safety regulations.”

Altman & Altman, LLP – Bus Accident Lawyers Serving Boston and the Surrounding Areas

If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. Our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys will analyze the details of your case to determine the most appropriate legal strategy, and we’ll ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.