Fatal Charter Bus Crash in Virginia Again Highlights the Dangers
Eight years after a charter bus overturned in Virginia’s Caroline County, killing four people and injuring many more, the I-95 was the scene of another fatal charter bus crash this week.
Charges were brought against a charter bus driver after the bus rolled over on March 19. The crash killed two passengers. Many others were transported to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported two deaths and dozens of injuries after the discount-fare bus with 57 people on board veered off a foggy exit ramp in the early hours of the morning along Interstate 95 in Prince George County.
The Times-Dispatch reported the 40-year-old bus driver from Staten Island, N.Y., was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. He is being held at Riverside Regional Jail in Prince George. Virginia State Police said speed is considered a factor in the fatal charter bus crash in Virginia.
The bus crashed in foggy conditions, although it’s unclear if the weather was a factor in the incident. Police said 55 bus passengers were treated at local hospitals. Two of the survivors suffered potentially-critical injuries.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash at 5:22 a.m. The Tao’s Travel Inc. bus overturned at a ramp for Exit 45 as the charter bus headed north on I-95 from Florida to New York City. Police said the driver attempted to take the exit ramp.
Although bus crashes are rarer than car and truck accidents, they are often serious when they occur and entail multiple injuries.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported 579 crashes involving buses across the state in 2018. One bus occupant died and 284 injuries were reported. The figures do not include school bus wrecks.
Fatal Charter Bus Crash in Virginia Raises Questions About Charter Bus Safety
A series of fatal charter bus crashes put the discount bus industry in the spotlight.
The driver who caused the 2011 charter bus crash on I-95 in Caroline County was accused of falling asleep at the wheel. He was convicted of four counts of involuntary manslaughter – one for each passenger who died.
The crash and others led to a federal crackdown on low cost charter bus companies. Dozens were closed down.
Some of the other most serious charter bus crashes in recent history include the following:
- 2005 – A charter bus carrying nursing home occupants north from the path of Hurricane Rita caught fire and exploded south of Dallas in Texas, killing 23 elderly patients.
- 2011 – A tour bus crashed into a light pole in New York City, killing 15 passengers and injuring many others. Investigators highlighted driver fatigue. However, the driver was, acquitted of manslaughter charges by a jury.
- 2016 – A tour bus carrying gamblers back home from a casino to Los Angeles, California hit the rear of a truck, killing 13 people including the driver. An investigation by the California Highway Patrol found the driver was traveling at 76 mph. Police charged the trucker with multiple offenses after they found he illegally stopped his vehicle on the road.
The Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration’s hours of service regulations provide rules for drivers of passenger carrying vehicles. They may drive a maximum of 10 hours after eight hours of rest.
Low cost charter buses remain a major cause for concern on the roads of America. The industry is dogged by poor maintenance, driver fatigue, and long hours. Efforts to improve safety appear to have failed.
If you or a family member was injured in a charter bus crash in Virginia, please call our experienced Virginia bus accident lawyers today at (757) 231-6443 for a free consultation.