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North Carolina-based SkyExpress Bus Crash in Virginia Demonstrated Federal Regulators Lost Control in Making Passenger Buses Safe

The National Transportation Safety Board hosted a gathering of federal regulators, safety experts, and industry officials to discuss reducing bus and truck accidents in early May 2011, according to the Virginian-Pilot. Within a few weeks of the gathering, a bus operated by Sky Express, with a poor record of fatigued drivers overturned on a Virginia highway, killing 4 people and injuring more than 50. The driver was charged with reckless driving and four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based owner of the bus was scheduled to be shut down a few days before the crash because of a long history of safety violations, but federal regulators granted the company, which operated also in Hampton Roads, Virginia (VA), 10 days to appeal the decision. After the crash, the regulators closed the bus line.

Shortly after the bus wreck, Sky Express attempted to resume ticket sales under another name.  Enforcement of bus safety regulations appear to be so relaxed that a bus line can begin operating, and run for as long as 18 months without a safety evaluation.

Lawmakers have talked for years about stricter rules on time off for bus drivers, and seat belts for passengers, but the talks have led nowhere. The only seat with a belt in the Sky Express bus wreck was the driver's seat. The driver, who allegedly fell asleep while driving, emerged from the Virginia crash unharmed.

This deadly bus crash demonstrated federal regulators lost control in taking essential steps to make passenger buses safe. Some say it is time for the government to take over. Death and serious injuries like brain and spinal cord injuries may result from a bus accident. A bus crash can be a life-altering tragedy that requires the assistance of Virginia personal injury attorneys for full justice.

To learn more about what to do if you or a loved one is hurt in a bus accident, check out our Frequently Asked Questions devoted to the subject.


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