You may remember back in June when we posted on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog about the North Carolina bus company that was told to cease operations following a fatal bus crash on its way to New York City. A few weeks later, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that United Tours Inc. also a North Carolina-based bus company, be shut down, declaring the company was an imminent hazard to patrons using the company to travel. Even though summer tourism season has come to a close, Charlotte bus accident lawyers know that fall tours to see autumn foliage will continue the next few months, so consumers should use a reputable company to avoid a serious injury in a Hickory bus accident. Last month, the FMCSA held roundtables in four different regions asking stakeholders, as well as, the community to help present ideas and discuss how to strengthen motor coach safety and keep passengers out of danger while they travel. The ideas and strategies of the future will include: Creating awareness among safety advocates, consumer groups, law enforcement officials and other stakeholders in the industry to emphasize the importance of safety. Identify problem areas in already established policies and revise to make them better. The motorcoach industry must be educated and trained in purchasing motorcoach services, maintenance and operations by devising valuable tools and resources. Strengthen the community and stakeholders to take personal responsibility for making buses safer. North Carolina has a total of 35,332 registered buses operating throughout the state. Almost 11,000 of these buses are operated for private (school and other) and commercial use; the rest are publicly owned. The government wants to put the responsibility on the consumer to put safety first, but in reality the motor coach and commercial bus industry has a responsibility to take precautionary measures to keep passengers safe. Some charter companies are guilty of falsifying logbooks, not doing routine maintenance checks on buses or hiring unqualified drivers. When an accident occurs, many times the negligence or liability can be traced back to the driver or charter bus company. Tour planners or tourists wanting to take a fall bus tour are encouraged to review a charter company's safety performance scores which can be compared to the national average by visiting FMCSA online. Any company that is issued unsatisfactory or conditional ratings is generally considered a higher risk to the safety of passengers. Buses that carry 16 passengers or more should have at least $5 million of insurance coverage. Check to see that the company you intend to use is sufficiently covered and operating under the authority of the FMCSA. If you notice a company is in violation you can report them by calling 1-888-368-7238. For example, if a driver is traveling at an excessive speed, a bus is overcrowded or you notice faulty equipment, the company should be reported to the proper authorities. Violations for in-state charter companies can be reported to North Carolina Utilities Commission or city and county transit authorities.
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