Posted on October 21, 2011
Topics: Trucking Regulations
By Garry R. Salomon
Eight or more bus passengers were injured on Tuesday, October 18, 2011, near Sloatsburg, New York, when a Trailways bus rear-ended a tractor trailer on the New York State Thruway. This accident is part of a recent trend in passenger bus accidents.
The 5:35 a.m. crash occurred when the tractor trailer slowed to accommodate a car entering on to the southbound roadway from a service plaza. Fortunately, no one was killed. The accident is still under investigation.
Generally, it is the responsibility of all commercial and non-commercial drivers to keep a safe distance behind another vehicle in anticipation of a sudden stop or decrease in speed. However, sometimes an investigation will reveal negligence on the part of the rear-ended vehicle, such as broken tail lights or erratic driving. Under such circumstance the rear-ended vehicle may share in the negligence and be held responsible to those passengers injured.
The bus industry will be rightfully facing more scrutiny after this accident, which may result in more regulations. Although the public hears quite a bit of complaining from companies that they believe their growth is being hurt by too many state and federal regulations, the fact is that, if enforced, regulations do keep the public safe and save lives.
Just this year, on March 12, 2011, 15 people were killed in a bus accident in the Bronx, New York City, due to negligence not only on the part of the driver but also perhaps on the part of the tourist bus operator for negligently hiring the driver in the first place.
Only two days later, in a separate incident, two people died because of a bus accident when a bus leaving the Chinatown section of New York City destined for Philadelphia slammed into a guard rail and concrete wall. Unfortunately, one of those killed was the bus driver.
In a third unrelated incident, a Bolt Bus traveling from New York to Baltimore was pulled over by a New Jersey State Trooper for erratic driving. Based on press reports, the bus driver did not pass roadside sobriety tests given at the scene and was arrested for drunk driving. Luckily for the bus passengers, an accident was avoided and no one was injured.
All four incidents are under investigation.
A pattern exists that should not be ignored. Better screening of drivers is needed, and this can be accomplished only through enforced regulation. The motorbus transportation industry is highly regulated, and it needs to stay that way. The primary function of regulation is to protect consumers by placing safety restrictions upon corporate operators. This is necessary because, unlike people, corporations have no mind, soul, or conscience. They are mostly driven by money and profits alone. Regulations are in place to help make certain that companies take precautions for the safety of the public. But they do need to be enforced.
To many companies, unenforced regulations are merely suggestions. For regulations to work they must be enforced. Unfortunately, during tough economic times, many states are forced to lay off its regulators in an effort to balance the budget. With fewer Inspectors and agents, companies may cut corners to be more competitive, and that may result in tragedy.
Even with regulations, many of these companies face nominal fines and continue in business with only a slap on the wrist from the government. Negligent companies are not held responsible for the harm they have caused until a jury, with the help of a skilled and committed trial lawyer, hears the truth and issues its verdict.
Coupled with the truth, a good trial lawyer will educate and empower a civil jury to send a message – in the language corporations understand – that dangerous and destructive behavior will not be tolerated.
Some companies will be held accountable, and bad companies will be forced out of business. They may complain that jobs will be lost, but the truth is that law-abiding companies will increase their business and hire better-trained drivers who understand and obey our regulations.
For that reason, trial lawyers are a necessary part of our civil justice system.
Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, of New Jersey and New York is proud to be a member of the American Association for Justice which stands up for consumers’ rights and safety. For more information and a free safety report write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Experienced NY and NJ Truck Accident Attorneys
The truck accident lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., have been helping people who have been injured in New Jersey tractor trailer accidents since 1981. Contact a truck accident lawyer at our New Jersey or New York offices to discuss the specifics of your situation. If we take your case, you can be assured we will use all the resources of our law firm to develop a strong argument for money damages and other compensation for you.
To speak with a New Jersey personal injury lawyer with many years of experience, contact our New Jersey or New York offices at (800) LAW-2000. We do not charge attorney’s fees unless we are successful in your case. Our initial consultations are free.