More details are emerging about the fatal charter bus crash that occurred on a mountainous country road in California two weeks ago. That wreck claimed eight lives after the bus lost control, struck two other vehicles and rolled several times. This week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it had ordered the company responsible for the bus to shut down immediately.
This decision comes after a review of the bus company's maintenance records and an inspection of the operators other vehicles. Government investigators were less than impressed with the situation, referring to the company's operations as "an imminent hazard to public safety."
Based on the similarity between eyewitness accounts of the accident and the investigators' findings, this "imminent hazard" may be responsible for the crash that already occurred.
The investigators reviewed 25 of the bus company's most recent vehicle inspection records. Out of those 25 inspections, the investigators found maintenance violations in 21 - 9 of those violations were serious enough to require immediate vehicle suspensions. When the investigators turned to the company's other vehicles, it found serious safety problems with both of them. These problems included braking issues.
While the official investigation into the crash is still ongoing, the driver and eyewitnesses indicated that the vehicle's brakes malfunctioned. If this turns out to be the case, the company's record of maintenance failings will likely become important evidence. Bus companies have an obligation to maintain their vehicles in safe working order - when they neglect this responsibility, injured passengers are entitled to hold them accountable.
Source: The New York Times, "Bus Company Told to Cease After a Crash," Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2013