When we see a news story about a charter bus company that has been shut down and cited for safety violations, it usually doesn’t matter to most people what state the company is from, only that they have been taken off the road. That’s because a lot of charter bus companies operate in other states other than their hub, meaning they could be putting residents in other states in just as much danger as in their own state.
This was certainly the case for a family-owned bus company out of Minnesota that was recently shut down by federal officials for a number of violations. And although this Midwest company may not have had any dealings with residents here in California, the case represents a danger that could easily be present in our state as well.
For those unfamiliar with the case, the bus company was shut down recently thanks to a national effort to reduce the number of fatal bus crashes. After inspecting the company’s 10-bus fleet, driver records and looking into records of any past crashes, officials determined that the company was an “imminent hazard to the public” and ordered the company to cease all activity.
According to reports, investigators discovered several defects in the company’s buses. But more serious than that was an indication that the company had covered up a serious violation by altering driving records. During a trip in April it is believed that the company allowed a passenger to operate a fleet vehicle after the driver had fallen ill. Those records were then altered to cover up the violation, reports say.
Although records indicate that this particular bus company was not involved in any crashes in the past, there was a real concern that it might and lives could be at risk. In 2012 alone there were nearly 14,300 bus accidents nationwide. Of those, 17,211 people were injured and 284 were killed. By shutting down this company, federal officials may have prevented those numbers from increasing, which would be considered good news to anyone in any state.
Source: Star Tribune, "Feds order charter bus firm off the road," Mary Lynn Smith, June 24, 2014
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