The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has suspended U.S. operations of the bus company involved in the fatal bus accident in the San Bernardino Mountains. According to the FMCSA, the bus company does not properly maintain its buses nor ensure its bus drivers are properly qualified.
The order came a few days after a Scapadas Magicas LLC bus careened down a mountain and crashed into two cars. Eight people were killed and many more injured. The bus driver, as well as surviving passengers, has said that brake problems caused the bus accident. One witness claims the bus was going the speed limit and then abruptly started speeding up before crashing.
Brake failure could be a logical cause of the accident, especially given Scapadas Magicas' track record. The government cited the company 21 times in the last 25 vehicle inspections. Furthermore, the FMCSA's investigation of Scapadas Magicas buses still in operation after the crash found serious mechanical issues, including problems with the brakes. According to investigators, the company failed to follow federal regulations requiring regular inspections.
The investigation will determine whether poor vehicle maintenance, driver inexperience and/or mechanical problems caused the tragic bus accident in California. If so, the victims and families of those killed in the bus accident will be able to join the government in holding the company responsible through U.S. personal injury lawsuits. If the driver's actions contributed to the bus crash, he may also be asked to compensate the victims for the harm caused.
No matter what the result of the investigation, families are hurting today. Many also face significant financial difficulties, including medical and funeral expenses. An attorney can help them bring a lawsuit to recover the compensation they need to move forward while they focus on healing.
Source: The New York Times, "Bus Company Told to Cease After a Crash," The Associated Press, Feb. 9, 2013