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New Jersey Tour Bus Accident Attorneys

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Injured in a Collision With a Tour Bus?

Bus accidents are not as common as car accidents, but when they occur, they often cause serious or fatal injuries. In the most recent year for which statistics are available, 232 buses were involved in fatal crashes in the U.S., killing 274 people, as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In the same year, 25,000 people were injured in crashes involving 15,000 buses. The sheer size, weight, and capacity of these buses can lead to catastrophic injuries for everyone involved.

While New Jersey has an extensive local bus system for residents, it is often used as an overnight stop or departure point by major tour companies who provide multi-city routes along the East Coast. These tour buses involve extensive driving times to pack in as many destinations as possible in a single trip. Sadly, that leads to overworked drivers, wear and tear for the rental coaches, and, ultimately, tragic accidents. Any passenger or other driver injured in a tour bus accident may have a claim for compensation if the crash was caused by negligence.

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What Are the Risks Associated With Tour Bus Accidents?

The FMCSA reports that intercity buses, including tour buses, accounted for 13% of all buses involved in fatal crashes over a recent ten-year period. Factors contributing to tour bus accidents include overworked drivers, rushed routes, and overuse of vehicles. Many tour bus accidents are the result of driver errors, such as:

  • Speeding or driving in non-bus lanes
  • Distractions, such as talking to the tour guide or other passengers
  • Sudden merges or stops
  • Overworked or drowsy drivers
  • Lack of experience driving large vehicles

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How Are Tour Bus Drivers Regulated?

Bus drivers are subject to both state and federal regulations. The FMCSA requires that all interstate motor coach drivers be at least 21 years of age, speak, read, and write English fluently, have the training and experience to drive a bus safely, have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL), and provide employers with a list of all motor vehicle violations within the past 12 months. Under FMCSA regulations, interstate motor coach driver may not drive for:

  • More than ten hours following eight consecutive hours off duty;
  • Any period after having been on duty for 15 hours following eight consecutive hours off duty;
  • Any period after 60 hours on duty in any seven consecutive days (if the bus company does not operate every day of the week); or
  • Any period after 70 hours on duty in eight consecutive days (if the bus company operates every day of the week).

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Federal Regulations for Travel Companies

In addition to requirements for drivers, before transporting passengers, interstate tour bus companies are required to obtain USDOT registration and operating authority from FMCSA. To do so, they must demonstrate that their operations meet FMCSA’s safety fitness standards and that the company is willing to comply with all applicable statutes and regulations, and they must file evidence of at least $5 million in insurance coverage.

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When Negligence Can Lead To Catastrophic or Fatal Injuries

When bus drivers and tour bus companies fail to follow the rules, it can have devastating consequences for people injured in tour bus accidents, and the families of those who are killed. Whether an accident occurs as the result of a drowsy driver or an overused motor coach, drivers or corporations should not be excused for their negligent actions. All aspects of an accident, from the bus’s black box to the driver’s record, should be fully investigated to determine fault. This information will not only help prevent future accidents, it can also ensure that victims receive full compensation for their injuries.

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Holding Tour Companies Accountable

We understand that low-cost, multi-city tours are an enticing offer for travelers who want to explore the East Coast. But affordability should not come with the heavy price of medical bills or mental trauma. Your best chance of recovering full and fair compensation after sustaining injuries or losing a loved one in a tour bus crash is to have an experienced attorney by your side.

Our New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. have big firm experience, but we started our own firm to give clients personalized, boutique firm attention. We will review all pieces of evidence and avenues in the pursuit of the maximum compensation for your case. Call us at (609) 240-0040 to schedule a free consultation.

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Additional Information

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty five years.

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