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High number of fatal bus crashes leads to federal crackdown on industry

Alarmed at the increasing number of fatal commercial bus and truck accidents, federal safety regulators have been cracking down on companies that they know to have poor safety records. The American Bus Association has approved of this move, because they say most bus companies follow the rules, but certain unscrupulous cut-rate companies in operation make the roads less safe for everyone.

The Associated Press recently reported that more people have died and been injured in commercial bus accidents so far this year than in all of last year. This year there have been 18 tour bus crashes. These crashes have resulted in 33 deaths and 353 injuries. Last year there were 28 crashes. Last year's crashes killed 30 people and injured 272.

Two recent fatal tour bus crashes occurred in New York. One was apparently caused by a tire blowout, which caused the bus to veer off the roadway and roll over. Two people died in that crash and 35 were injured.

Last Friday, a tour bus was hit by a semi-truck when the bus tried to merge onto the highway from the shoulder. The bus had apparently pulled over for a mechanical problem. It is thought that the bus may have tried to enter the highway before it was up to the proper speed. The truck crashed into it and both commercial vehicles started on fire. The truck driver died and 30 people on the bus were injured. Things could have been worse Friday, but a soldier driving on the highway pulled over at the crash scene and made multiple trips into the burning bus to rescue passengers.

Source: Associated Press, "Probe of fatal NY bus crash looks at speed, timing," Ben Dobbin, 25 July 2011

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