Due Process Run Amok

I reported a few days ago about a bus crash that killed four passengers. Driver fatigue was apparently the principal cause. What made the story relevant for this site is that the bus company's safety record can fairly be described as criminally negligent, yet nothing had been done: The tour company had been involved in several crashes in less than 20 months, and had been cited 46 times for allowing fatigued drivers to take the wheel, but the fleet was still on the road. It now comes out that the Department of Transportation was, it claims, about to shut the company down, but gave it extra time to appeal its "unsatisfactory" safety rating: A timeline released Wednesday by the department indicates that without the extension Sky Express of Charlotte, N.C., would have been shut down before the crash that killed four passengers and injured dozens of other people**** According to the timeline, Sky Express' authority to operate would have been revoked last Saturday. The department gave the company an extra 10 days to appeal. Since the fatal crash, the bus company has been shut down…Federal records show Tuesday's fatal Virginia crash was the fifth highway accident involving the Sky Express bus company since last July. The fifth accident since last July? And the company was still operating? And given extra time to appeal? Time and again, we have seen in the context of the death penalty the travesty of drawn-out appeals, almost all of them of the run-the-clock variety. We now see, in a different but still lethal context, the consequences when an hypnotic obsession with "due process" overrides just results. It's time — past time — to change our priorities and get moving.

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