Early Sunday morning, the most recent mass casualty casino bus crash occurred in southern California. A shocking 13 people died and dozens more suffered catastrophic injuries in the horrific collision.
The bus driver who slammed into the back of the stopped 18 wheeler was going so fast that the bus ripped a gaping hole in the back of the semi and came to a stop 15 feet inside its trailer.
Investigators have already determined that the tread on multiple tires were worn down so low that they were far below federal safety standards.
“The vehicle was out of compliance with Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance inspection criteria, and it could have been placed out of service,” an NTSB board member reported yesterday.
In addition, since the driver never applied his brakes, driver fatigue was another cause of the deadly collision, all too common in these early morning bus and other commercial vehicle collisions.
This was an accident just waiting to happen. The bus was old. It was manufactured 50 years ago in 1966. The bus company driving it only operated this one bus. However it was not allowed to be on the road No one had apparently inspected the bus or its tires recently. Further, the driver was obviously unqualified.
As if that weren’t bad enough news, you can bet that the company has inadequate liability insurance. The minimum required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is $5 million. This will not be enough to pay the damage claims of the families of the 12 passengers (not counting the driver) who died and the many others who were seriously injured.
Why do so many bus collisions like this happen? According to the FMCSA, an estimated 3,290 crash each year. That’s incredible.
Why are insurance limits so low?
And more importantly, how can we stop these crashes from happening over and over again?