California Representative Gloria Negrete McCleod introduced the Motorcoach Safety, Accountability and Technology Act of 2013 on Wednesday, June 26th, in response to the fatal bus crash in Yucaipa near Highway 38 in which seven bus passengers and the driver of a second vehicle were killed on February 3rd.
Scapadas Magicas Tours bus company in National City took tourists on bus tours of the San Bernardino Mountains. After one trip, the driver of a Scapadas Magicas bus lost control and crashed into the pickup truck of 72-year-old Fred Richardson. In addition to the fatalities, dozens of bus passengers were injured. The federal government then declared the accident a hazard to the safety of the nation’s public and ordered Scapadas Magicas to close its operations.
In response to the tragedy, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “Safety is our number one priority, and we will not tolerate unsafe bus conditions on our nation’s roads. We will not allow safety to be compromised.” McCleod’s bill calls for revised safety standards for both new and older buses. It also requires inspections of brakes before trips and gives law enforcement the right to pull over a bus at any time as long as there is sufficient room for the passengers. Today, police officers may only pull over a bus driver if there is a traffic violation involved.
A review of federal transportation records showed that, although Scapadas Magicas had no crashes on its record, the National City bus company had failed to pass 36% of its safety inspections and failed to have regular inspections conducted. Additionally, two more of the company’s buses were later inspected and had safety violations.
The bill comes as a disappointment to some bus tour company owners like Joseph Blades of Caribbean Pacific Bus, LLC. Blades’ San Bernardino-company has yet to fail a safety inspection for many years. He believes that customers will be frustrated if their bus is pulled over during a tour, which usually runs on tight schedules. He also does not believe that his company should be restricted because of the faults of others. Linae Jackson of Direct Connect Charter Bus is in support of the bill but argues that it would be effective if law enforcement pull over companies that already have a history of violations, rather than companies who regularly pass their inspections and have not had crashes.
If you have been injured due to the reckless driving of someone operating a bus or due to the negligence of the driver of another vehicle, call AA Accident Attorneys today for a free evaluation. Our legal team can help you navigate the complicated legal process and get you the compensation you are owed. A San Bernardino personal injury lawyer will help you build your case without charging you until the case is won. Do not hesitate to seek compensation for costly medical bills, for time spent away from work, for damages to your vehicle and for the injuries you have endured.