Fatal Bronx Bus Accident Continues to Lead to Tough Actions by FMCSA Including Shut-Down of 26 Bus Companies and Release of SaferBus Mobile App

This past Thursday the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) shut down 26 discount bus companies declaring them imminent hazards to public safety. The shutdowns affected dozens of routes out of New York City’s Chinatown. In addition, FMCSA ordered 10 individual bus company owners, managers and employees to cease all passenger transportation operations, which includes selling bus tickets to passengers.

Earlier this year, FMCSA released the SaferBus mobile app to give travelers a quick way to view a bus company’s safety record before buying an interstate ticket or booking group travel. The app … Read the rest

Court of Appeals Applies Both New York Law and Ontario Law to Fatal Bus Crash

In Edwards v. Erie Coach Lines Company, 131, NYLJ 1202499068316 (Decided June 30, 2011), New York States highest court was called upon to answer a choice-of-law question regarding a motor vehicle accident wherein a charter bus carrying members of an Ontario women’s hockey team plowed into the rear-end of a tractor-trailer parked on the shoulder of the highway near Geneseo, New York on January 19, 2005. Four bus passengers and the trailer’s driver died; several bus passengers were seriously hurt. The charter bus’s driver, his employer, and the company that leased the bus are Ontario domiciliaries, as are (or … Read the rest

Bus Safety Subject of Legislative Attention Following Last Weeks Charter Bus Crashes

In 2009, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) released the Motor Coach Safety Action Plan setting forth concrete steps for improving motorcoach safety. The action plan addresses major safety issues such as driver fatigue and inattention, vehicle rollover, occupant ejections and oversight of unsafe carriers. With the two recent fatal charter bus accidents, efforts are being speed up the implementation of the safety improvements. Available technology includes collision warning systems that alert drivers to obstacles in their paths and tell them when they are swerving from their lanes, strengthening bus roofs so that they aren’t sheared off, as … Read the rest

Appellate Division Lets Plaintiff Keep $1.2 of $1.75 Million Verdict for 1-2 Hours of Decedents Pain and Suffering

In Dowd vs. New York City Transit Authority, 2010 WL 4678916 (November 16, 2010), the 79-year old decedent was struck by a bus that was backing out of a parking space at the bus terminal located at 165th Street and Merrick Boulevard in Queens. Part of the maneuver needed to exit from the parking space required a bus operator to reverse the bus, encroaching on the sidewalk that ran along Merrick Boulevard, before moving forward to exit on 89th Avenue. Because of a blind spot directly behind the bus, bus operators are advised that they are to ask a … Read the rest

New Federal Rule to Make School Buses Safer

New federal rules will make the nations 474,000 school buses safer by requiring higher seat backs, mandating lap and shoulder belts on small school buses and setting safety standards for seat belts on large school buses, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced this past October.

Secretary Peters said the new rule requires all new school buses to be equipped with 24-inch-high seat backs, instead of the 20-inch-high seat backs required today. Higher seat backs will help prevent taller and heavier children from being thrown over the seat in a crash, decreasing the chance of injury to them and … Read the rest