Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding partner
The Houston Chronicle reported that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has "called for tighter oversight of the passenger bus industry in the wake of a fatal Jan. 2, 2008, crash that killed a passenger after the driver fell asleep at the wheel." The NTSB "urged other federal agencies, namely the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Motor Coach Safety Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, to better coordinate efforts to root out buses and other coaches that don’t meet U.S. safety standards."
Under Department of Transportation regulations, carriers are required to ensure their drivers are fully qualified. Before stepping onto a bus or motor coach, do some research. Here are some questions any company should answer without hesitation, or you should reconsider using that company’s services:
Ask the carrier:
- Will the driver of the vehicle possess a current Commercial Driver’s License with a "passenger" endorsement?
- Will the driver hold a valid medical certificate?
- Does the company have a driver drug and alcohol testing program that complies with DOT regulations?
And here’s some additional useful information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:
"Ask for the carrier’s USDOT identification number and its MC number. The MC number represents interstate operating authority issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Using the MC number, you may obtain insurance information about the carrier on the Internet at http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov. Using the U.S. DOT identification number, you may obtain safety information about the carrier on the Internet or by calling (703) 280-4001. If you have a regulatory question, please call (202) 366-6121.
This information is also available on the Internet at http://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov ."
About 63,000 buses are involved in traffic crashes each year, resulting in approximately 325 deaths and 14,000 non-fatal injuries. As a lawyer who dedicates his practice to representing victims of carelessness, including people who have been injured as a result of mass transit collisions, I know first-hand how important it is to increase oversight of the industry. By not adhering to federal and local regulations, company’s place passengers and others on the roadway in serious peril. Urge your legislators to take this matter seriously.
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. and has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top 1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as "one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including serious truck and car collisions. He has successfully litigated numerous cases against distracted drivers of tractor-trailers, other trucks, and cars. Mr. Zambri’s firm has also obtained the largest settlement ever in a case involving the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Mr. Zambri has also been named a "Super Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2009)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in America.
Mr. Zambri has authored an article regarding how automobile collision cases are evaluated. To read it, please click here.
Many Americans are killed or critically injured each year in vehicular collisions. If you want more information about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 202-822-1899.