The Associated Press reports that a bus operated by the Van Nuys, California-based company, Tierra Santa, Inc., rolled over on an interstate in Arizona and has left six people dead and 16 others injured.
Tragically, the bus was not operating legally. The Department of Transportation had not approved the operator to engage in interstate transportation of passengers using a commercial motor vehicle. It did so anyway.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had denied the company’s application to become a passenger carrier in December 2009. The bus crossed the border from Mexico into the United States at El Paso.
Why did this accident happen? We do not know that yet, but the investigation will determine the maintenance status of the bus as well as the driver’s attentiveness at the time of the accident.
The accident occurred when the bus hit a pick-up truck, went off the shoulder, tried to move back onto the roadway and began rolling due to the overcorrection. This crushed the bus and several passengers were thrown from it. A second accident took place when another pickup tried to slow down as the bus was in trouble and a car hit that pickup.
The AP notes that federal investigators are already reviewing Tierra Santa’s safety operations and confirms that it company never had federal operating authority.
Unfortunately, this could have been avoided had the operator followed the law.
On inspection last August, one bus was determined to be operating illegally and the federal government stopped its trip at that time. That vehicle had many safety issues. The officials are not sure whether that bus is the same vehicle involved in this recent accident.
Related Web Resources
Before you book a trip on a public carrier, such as a bus company, make sure that the company is licensed to carry passengers. Ask for their licensing information if you are uncertain. For more information, visit http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov.
The lawyers of California’s law firm, Hersh & Hersh represent accident victims. Please contact us for a free consultation with one of our experienced trial lawyers.