The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has officially released information regarding the fatal bus accident that claimed 15 lives last year. According to a report by The Associated Press, the fatal tour bus accident, which occurred on March 12, 2011 on the Interstate 85 in New York, was caused by a drowsy bus driver, the investigation has determined. The bus was traveling at 78 miles per hour in a 50-mph zone when it went off the roadway and toppled onto its side, resulting in 15 fatalities and 17 injuries.
Officials now say that the bus driver made no attempt to brake or steer the bus back onto the roadway because he was fatigued and had almost no sleep in the days leading up the fatal auto accident. He pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges he now faces. Additionally, officials say the bus company failed to monitor the driver’s behavior and provided very little safety regulations.
Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours-of-Service Regulations, commercial drivers who are operating passenger-carrying vehicles may only drive 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty. They may not drive after 15 hours of being on duty and they are not allowed to work after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. These regulations are meant to reduce the likelihood of a driver being fatigued. Companies and drivers that fail to follow these regulations can be held liable for the damages they cause.
The experienced New Jersey bus accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein have a long history of getting injured passengers and their families fair compensation for their losses. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a bus accident, please call our offices at (609) 240-0040 for a no-cost case evaluation.