Party buses are a new phenomenon on the nation’s highways, and they are creating new safety concerns. The recent crash of a party bus in Virginia that killed three people prompted some sharply critical remarks from the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.
In the accident, a party bus entered the wrong-way lane and collided with a tractor trailer. Upon hearing the news, James Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), was prompted to issue some critical remarks on the safety of the nation’s highways.
The opening salvo
Mr. Hall pointed to high speed, poor regulation and inadequate funding for law enforcement as some of the reasons why the nation’s highways are more dangerous than ever.
Mr. Hall compared the situation to a fistfight between unequal opponents. He noted that the traffic consists of 3,000-4,000-pound vehicles competing for road space with vehicles weighing up to 80,000 or 90,000 pounds.
A special concern for party buses
A spokesman for the NTSB called attention to a party bus crash in upstate New York in 2018 where all 20 persons aboard were killed. After that crash, the NTSB recommended that state and federal regulators tighten the requirements for the use of seat belts. The NTSB also recommended that medium-sized bus manufacturers install lap or shoulder belts in all of their products as standard, rather than optional, features.
None of the passengers in the party bus involved in the Virginia accident was wearing seat belts.
The NTSB sent a team of 10 investigators to conduct a safety investigation of the Virginia crash. These investigators have completed the on-scene portion of their investigators, and they expect to issue their report in the next few weeks.
Anyone who has been injured or lost a loved one in a crash may wish to consult an experienced auto accident attorney for advice on whether to commence a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages from the negligent party.