Driver Convicted For Fatal Bus Accident
Our last post discussed some new safety rules that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will likely apply to the commercial transportation industry in the next year. While these proposals, including mandatory seat belt installation, could save numerous lives, they will never make charter buses completely safe.
This week, a driver received a 40-year prison sentence for causing a fatal bus accident in May 2011. The crash occurred in Virginia while the bus was carrying passengers to New York from North Carolina. After erratically swerving around the freeway, the bus ran over an embankment and flipped. The roll killed four passengers and injured many others. With the end of this criminal trial, the driver received a conviction for involuntary manslaughter. He will serve only six years of the 40-year sentence because the judge suspended another 34.
Why the conviction and hefty prison sentence? After the crash, the driver admitted that he had fallen asleep while driving.
This is just one more example of the large vehicle-related dangers that will exist for the foreseeable future. Transportation companies often require their drivers to work long hours on the road, putting them at big risk of driver-fatigue. Even companies that do not require long hours often offer big incentives to drivers who make unrealistically fast trips. Trucking companies are notorious for doing this and sleeping truck drivers still cause far too many unnecessary crashes.
No matter how many smart and effective regulations agencies like the NHTSA use to try to boost transportation safety, these kinds of accidents will continue to occur on America's roads. Drivers will always make mistakes, putting the lives of other motorists at risk.
Source: U-T San Diego, " Bus driver to serve 6 years for fatal Va. crash," Associated Press, Jan. 23, 2013