A charter bus carrying the Columbus Cottonmouths, a professional hockey team in the Southern Professional Hockey League, rolled over on an Illinois highway today. Early reports indicate that two occupants of the bus suffered serious injury. A spokesperson for the Illinois State Police suggested that speed was a factor in the crash. Charter bus accidents are not uncommon and experts have questioned the safety record within the industry.
Safety ratings and bus companies
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a mobile phone app that allows users to access a bus company's safety records. The app, called SaferBus, allows you to search by company name, Department of Transportation number or MC number. It then allows people to view the company's scores in five categories, including:
- Unsafe Driving
- Fatigued Driving
- Driver Fitness
- Controlled Substances and/or Alcohol
- Vehicle Maintenance
One problem this may not address is a tactic used by bus companies to escape negative attention. In the past, some bus companies have been able to close operations under one name only to open again as a new bus company. The FMCSA has taken some steps to address the problem, but it is still possible in some cases for drivers and owners in the industry to stay ahead of regulations designed to get them off the roads.
At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, our attorneys have experience in bus accidents and cases involving negligence in mass transit. We help people injured in these accidents get the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured in a bus crash or other motor vehicle collision, contact us to learn more. We can protect your interests.
Source: The Ledger-Enquirer, "Cottonmouths release statement on crash, new details from Illinois," by Chuck Williams, 19 January 2017