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01/10/2014
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Deadly Bus Accidents: Prior inspections fail to notice defects

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A state-certified vehicle inspection station was cited by federal authorities for failing to notice defects in a bus that crashed, killing 17 passengers.  However, the inspection station simply moved and continued to operate with state approval.  The situation highlights the lack of oversight for the businesses that perform state inspections of buses and other large commercial vehicles.

Records examined by The Associated Press show that three of the deadliest bus crashes in recent years raised questions about the commercial vehicle inspection programs in Texas, Illinois and Mississippi and prompted calls from the National Transportation Safety Board for better oversight. Forty people died in those wrecks, yet the agency to which the recommendations were directed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has refused to act.

The inaction has rankled safety advocates, who believe government regulators aren’t attentive to the needs of bus travelers.  Federal regulations require that commercial vehicles be inspected annually. However, those inspections can be conducted by state personnel, private garages or even the companies operating the vehicles.

More than half the states have no prescribed inspection requirements.  Instead, it is up to the motor carriers themselves.

Documents recently obtained by the AP shed new light on the crash in the North Texas city of Sherman, one of the worst in U.S. history.  NTSB investigators determined that a blown tire caused the bus to careen off the highway. But they also found evidence calling into question the inspection conducted  eight days earlier.  The NTSB reported evidence indicating  a retread tire illegally affixed to the front axle and grease contamination in one of the brakes.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a bus, contact the experienced Gainesville Florida accident attorneys at the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. to recover the compensation you deserve.

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