New Rule Requiring Electronic Stability Control (ESC) on Heavy Trucks and Large Buses Hopes to Save Lives

The U.S. Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized its rule requiring electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy trucks and large buses.  NHTSA estimates the rule will prevent as many as 1,759 crashes, 649 injuries and 49 fatalities each year. ESC will prevent up to 56 percent of untripped, rollover crashes.  Untripped rollover crashes are rollover crashes not caused by striking an obstacle or leaving the road. The rule is also expected to provide net economic benefits of more than $300 million annually resulting from preventing crashes, reducing congestion, and preventing property damage,

The requirement will … Read the rest

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

Criminal Charges Brought Against Driver of Tour Bus That Crashed in Bronx Returning From Mohegan Sun Casino On Same Day as State Inspector Generals Report Released

The driver of the tour bus that crashed into a highway sign post on I-95 in the Bronx, killing 15 people and injuring seven others on March 12, 2011, has been charged with 15 counts each of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, plus reckless driving, assault and third-degree unlicensed driving.

Ophadell Williams, Jr. plead not guilty, and his bail was set at $250,000. Alsolast Thursday, New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben today released an investigative report that found the bus driver was able to exploit weaknesses in the state regulatory system and obtain a commercial bus driver license … Read the rest

National Motorcoach Safety Summit to be Held September 23rd

Although motorcoach transportation is one of the most cost-effective, accessible and safe forms of public transportation, there has been a number of recent tragic crashes around the United States that involved motorcoaches and buses. In an effort to strengthen motorcoach safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the Department of Transportation will be holding National Motorcoach Safety Summit this September in Washington, DC.

The hope is to develop a plan to increase motorcoach safety awareness, enforcement, and education; establish innovative and collaborative policies and countermeasures; to exchange information and ideas on the best possible approaches to … 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

Operation Safe Stop Day Highlights School Bus Safety

Yesterday, April 23, 2009, was this year’s Operation Safe Stop Day, a day when law police officers ride on board school buses and in marked and unmarked patrol units on selected bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints. Police will issue tickets to drivers who pass stopped school buses. All violations will be reported to a central command post so that final figures will be available to state and local officials as well as the media.

More than 2.3 million New York children take the bus to school each day. An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass … Read the rest