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More than a year has passed since a New York City bus crash killed 15 people and injured 17 others last March, but the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has completed its investigation and finally released its report on the incident. According to the NTSB, speeding up to 78 miles per hour and driver fatigue from lack of sleep contributed to the crash, although the bus company was not at fault for failing to provide adequate supervision of its driver.
As you may recall, the accident involved a bus operated by World Wide Tours of greater New York, which was returning to Chinatown after an overnight trip to a casino in Connecticut. The bus was traveling on Interstate 95 in the Bronx when it struck a highway guard rail and overturned before crashing into a highway sign support pole which sheared the top off the bus at the window line from front to back.
Although the bus company was shut down for safety violations following the accident, the employees, buses and other assets were simply transferred to Great Escapes Tour and Travel, a different bus company with ownership related to World Wide Tours which continues to operate today.
In addition to making specific findings regarding this particular accident, the NTSB report also calls for industry-wide changes in trucking company safety standards, such as recommending that all heavy vehicles be equipped with speed limiters, and requiring carriers to look back ten years when investigating driver records of potential employees. Current regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) only require employers to go back three years. The driver in this crash, Ophadell Williams, had a record that included being fired from two previous employers and 18 driving suspensions over two decades, yet he was hired anyway.
As you can see, NTSB investigations take a considerable length of time. Meanwhile, families of those injured or killed in a bus accident struggle to meet payments for medical bills or make up for lost wages in the household. An NTSB report may or may not have an impact on civil litigation. It is important soon after an accident to contact an experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney to begin the process of obtaining full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages in a timely manner. In New York City, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation.