The American tour bus industry has been impacted by a raft of serious crashes in recent years, raising concerns about standards. In recent years, the accident-prone tour bus industry has faced closer examination.
Often charter bus drivers and the companies that employ them have been held liable in serious crashes that killed passengers.
In September 2017, a charter bus driver killed two people and himself when he sped through a red light and into a city bus in Queens in New York. The New York Post reported the driver was working illegally for his employer.
The Post reported that Raymond Mong, 49, was behind the wheel of a two-year-old tour bus owned by Flushing-based Dahlia Group Inc. He was traveling up to 62 mph at the time of the crash in Flushing in New York that left 16 people injured.
The Department of Motor Vehicles later confirmed it had “no record” of being notified by Dahlia of Mong’s employment at the charter bus company, a requirement of state law.
The report stated Mong had a prior arrest for DUI, according to Tiffany Portzer, a DMV spokeswoman.
The Post report said before Mong crashed his Dahlia tour bus into a Q20 bus packed with people he was arrested for a DUI. He allegedly caused a three-car crash in Connecticut in 2015.
The Q20 bus was hit while it was making a turn. Two of the three people who died — the tour bus driver and an MTA bus passenger — lost their lives at area hospitals. The third fatality was a pedestrian on the sidewalk, who was pinned under one of the buses and pronounced dead at the scene.
Five of the people who were injured were reported to be in a critical condition.
The crash raised new questions about the tour bus industry. New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) fired Mong in 2015 when it was discovered he had been arrested for driving under the influence.
Other crashes raised concerned about safety standards in the charter bus industry. In the summer of 2016, five people were killed and many more were injured when a charter bus crashed into a sign on Route 99 near the town of Livingston in California.
The bus was owned and operated by Autobuses Coordinados USA Inc. Media reports stated the bus involved in the wreck was cited for at least seven violations in two years, including allowing a driver with a suspended license behind the wheel.
A series of deadly crashes more than five years ago led to a crackdown on tour bus companies by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The accident-prone tour bus industry remains a major concern.
The Chicago Tribune noted 52 bus companies were closed down by federal regulators including some based in Atlanta.
If you have been injured in a car or a bus wreck or lost a loved one in Georgia, please contact the Law Offices of Michael West.