Curbside carriers more likely to get into fatal bus accidents: report
Passengers aboard low-cost buses with curbside locations, such as in Chinatown, are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident, according to a federal report released Monday.
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that curbside buses, which have become the fastest growing mode of commercial U.S. travel, had 1.4 fatal accidents per 100 vehicles from January 2005 to March 2011, while buses originating from traditional terminals were at just 0.2%.
The startling finding is part of the most detailed study of the industry to date, prompted by a rash of deadly bus crashes across state lines. There have been eight fatal accidents — causing 28 deaths — involving buses traveling to and from Chinatown this year. Among the worst was the March crash of a bus returning to Chinatown from Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. The bus struck a traffic pole that sliced through the vehicle, killing 15 passengers.
“For too long, some bad apples have played fast and loose with passenger safety. We’re here to say enough is enough,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), at a Chinatown news conference.
Schumer reiterated his support Monday for a letter-grade system similar to the restaurant industry to alert riders of a company’s safety record.
The study also found other alarming practices within the fast-growing industry:
•Drivers continuing to drive even if they’re fatigued.
•Drivers falsifying their hours logged so they don’t have to stop driving.
•Carriers ordered to shut down, but continuing to operate under other names or switching owners in order to stay in business.
•Carriers keeping outdated phone numbers and records.