Tour Bus Accidents Result in 19 Deaths to Date in 2011

A May 24 tour bus accident has left 13 passengers seriously injured after their bus crashed on Interstate 80 between San Francisco and Sacramento. According to the California Highway Patrol, the crash marks the third serious bus accident in two years. The CHP blames unsafe practices in the tour bus industry for these crashes, reporting that many buses travel at night and without any seat belts or other safety devices.

Witness reported that the bus was seen flying over an embankment on the highway, just missing an oncoming car. The National Transportation Safety Board is planning a full-scale investigation regarding the incident.

This is just one of several bus accidents that have occurred in 2011, leaving a number of passengers dead or injured. Two recent large crashes on the east coast killed 19 people at the scene. Another crash in Virginia injured 54 passengers and killed four more, blocking a major Interstate for seven hours. After an investigation ruled out mechanical failure as the cause of the accident, the bus driver was charged with reckless driving. He was the only person on the bus wearing a seat belt, reports indicate. He was treated for minor injuries and is now awaiting trial in jail. The company for which the driver works has been cited for 46 fatigued driving violations in the last two years, contributing to the company's notably poor safety record.

Another bus accident in New York killed 15 passengers and injured another 18 after it drifted off the road and into a utility pole. The driver had served over six years in prison for manslaughter and grand larceny and had been previously arrested for several vehicular offenses, but passengers were unaware of his criminal record.

Source: Examiner "Tour bus crash fatalities on the rise, 19 killed in 2011 already" Mary Holman, June 2, 2011

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