Bus Carrier Safety Concerns Surface


Bus Carrier Safety Concerns Surface

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto truck accident lawyer. The National Transportation Safety Board issued its final ruling on a Modesto bus accident that occurred in late summer. The board pointed a finger at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, saying it needed to keep unsafe vehicles from operating.

What Happened

A bus carrying approximately 30 passengers crashed on Highway 99. The accident happened on August 2, 2017, on a stretch of highway between Livingston and Atwater around 3:30 in the morning. The driver, who had slept for five hours in a 40-hour period was due to be relieved by another driver in Livingston. However, several miles from the exchange point, the bus ran off the road and hit a roadside sign. The pole and sign tore into the bus, ripping it from the front area to the back. The bus stopped moving when the pole hit the rear axle after cutting a swath through rows of passenger seats in the front of the vehicle.

Injured Passengers

According to a representative of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), at the time, five passengers were killed in this horrific bus crash and others were injured. Of the 18 people who were injured, six were seriously injured and just eight out of 30 were not injured.

Some passengers were thrown from the bus upon impact, landing in a ditch. A few were trapped in the vehicle until emergency responders were able to free them. A sheriff from Merced County reported that so many of the passengers were bleeding that emergency vehicles did not have enough tourniquets. The deputy coroner said that many of the injured had lost limbs in the crash, and personnel were dispatched to find detached limbs in the bus. Five of the seriously injured passengers were helicoptered to medical facilities in Turlock and Modesto.

The Driver

The driver, Mario David Vasquez, 57, was an employee of Autobuses Coordinados USA, a Fresno-based outfit. Reports from the accident site revealed he was critically injured in the crash. According to the NTSB, the driver was fatigued and had not slept. There is no proof that he attempted to avoid crashing.

Bus Inspections

According to the reports, the bus company was rated satisfactory in May, 2017, by the FMCSA. However, a month earlier, an inspection resulted in three violations. This included a brake light that was considered defective. Overall, the bus company has been placed out-of-service 38 percent of the time. Average ratings for this are about 8 percent nationwide. In 24 months, the company did not pass eight inspections.

Harsh Words From the NTSB

After the investigation concluded, the chairman of the NTSB remarked that the FMCSA needs to keep unsafe vehicles off the road. He cited driver fatigue and the bus company’s lackluster history of safety concerns.

Liability for Bus Crashes

In cases such as this, the bus carrier and the driver are at fault in causing the accident. Although the driver was due to be relieved by another driver, he did not meet the national requirement for hours-of-service. In addition, the safety profile shows that the company was lax in maintaining and servicing its vehicles. Passengers injured in the crash have the recourse of making a claim to the carrier’s insurance. If that is not settled satisfactorily, a truck accident attorney can file a claim in court.

Modesto Truck Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto truck accident lawyer. If someone in your family or you have been injured in an accident caused by negligence, reach out to me for friendly and free advice. Call (209) 227-1931 in the area or (800) 404-5400 nationwide. If you’d prefer, you can fill out an online form, and I will get right back to you.

I have assisted numerous Modesto residents and those in Northern California for more than 35 years. As their injury lawyer, I’ve helped with wrongful death claims and catastrophic injuries such as traumatic head injuries. Aside from truck accidents, I am experienced in pedestrian and car accidents as well as motorcycle accidents among others.

I established this website,, to educate clients on the many nuances of personal injury law. 

Go to Google+, Yelp and Avvo to find out more about me and my practice. Take the time to review the settlements and verdicts I got for previous clients.

I belong to a nationwide group of trial attorneys who have won $1 million or more for clients. Take a look at Million Dollar Advocates.

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