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Author Topic: Tour bus crash on I-95 in Virginia  (Read 3329 times)
Nusa
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« on: May 31, 2011, 06:33:37 AM »

MSNBC story, with picture: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43221988/ns/us_news-life/
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4 dead, multiple injuries after I-95 tour bus wreck in Virginia
Police spokeswoman says the vehicle was found turned onto its roof

Four people were killed and several more injured after a commercial tour bus overturned early Tuesday on Interstate 95 in central Virginia, state police said.

Virginia State Police were called to the scene at 4:55 a.m. ET. The vehicle was found resting upside down on its roof about a quarter mile south of the Carmel Church exit, officials said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on the bus, but according to state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller, the vehicle can hold 59 passengers.

The bus' destination hasn't been released and the cause of the crash hasn't been determined.

The accident shut down the northbound lanes of I-95, which were not expected to reopen for several hours.

In March, 15 people were killed when a bus returning to New York City's Chinatown after an overnight excursion to a Connecticut casino toppled off an elevated highway and struck a utility pole, peeling off its roof. That accident heightened attention to bus safety among Transportation Department officials and members of Congress.

Federal authorities say nearly 2,800 spot safety checks of passenger buses across the country from March 28 through April 6 resulted in about 10 percent of the vehicles or drivers being taken off the road.

This is a developing news story. Please check back for more details.


CNN video: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/05/31/va.deadly.bus.crash.wjla
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pabusnut
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 10:00:54 AM »

I know BK has some SETRA's.  I sure hope this is not one of his!

PAbusnut
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Steve Toomey
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 01:01:45 PM »

According to local NYC news reports this was a bus headed from Charlotte, NC to Chinatown in NYC.  Coach was registered to a Chinese bus firm.

Seaton
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RJ
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« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 01:12:12 PM »

I know BK has some SETRA's.  I sure hope this is not one of his!

Steve -

No, not one of BK's, but perhaps he might be interested in the wreck as a parts bus!  Bet he could get it real cheap from the insurance company!

FWIW. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 06:27:33 PM »

It even made the west coast news, glad to hear it wasn't one of BK's, Will
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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 07:15:39 PM »

Glad to hear that it wasn't one of BK's. Smiley 

Sad to hear that 4 people lost their lives, probably due to poor maintenance, driver fatigue, cell phone use, or a combination thereof. Angry

I am appalled at the number of truck and bus drivers that I see talking on the phone while driving.

PAbusnut
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Steve Toomey
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 07:21:42 PM »

Passanger and trooper  said driver fell asleep.  Bus was ruff looking compared to BK's. If looks =condition
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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 07:33:03 PM »


   They mentioned on the news here in Indianapolis (Fox 59) the company has been banned to use the major

   interstates by the N.T.S.B. because of all of there previous violations.  If that's the case "WHY ARE THEY

 STILL IN BUSINESS)?


  Steve 5B.....
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Nusa
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2011, 03:23:26 AM »

The updated story at the same MSNBC link:
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The driver of a bus that overturned early Tuesday in Virginia, killing four people and injuring 54, was charged with reckless driving.

Sky Express driver Kin Yiu Cheng, 37, is being held at an area jail on $3,000 bond. He suffered minor injuries in the crash on northbound Interstate 95 about 30 miles north of Richmond.

Investigators said driver fatigue contributed to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Sky Express has been involved in several accidents over the last two years. It also has been cited for 46 violations for drivers being fatigued, which police believe contributed to this crash.

The Sky Express bus departed Greensboro, N.C., on Monday night and was headed to Chinatown in New York City with 58 people aboard, including the driver, said state police Sgt. Thomas Molnar.

The bus had swerved off Interstate 95, hit an embankment and flipped over about 30 miles north of Richmond. The driver suffered minor injuries and is cooperating with investigators, Molnar said. Nearby hospitals say they have treated more than 25 people from the crash, some of whom were released.

Immediately after the crash, Virginia State Police arrested a passenger, Pavion R. O'Connor, 29, of Raleigh, N.C., after he allegedly insisted on standing in the open lanes of the interstate to take photographs of the accident scene, NBC News reported.

Police said O'Connor refused requests to leave and struggled with troopers as they tried to escort him to the side of the interstate. He was charged for obstruction of justice and resisting arrest.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records, Charlotte, N.C.-based Sky Express Inc. buses have been involved in four crashes, with one injury or fatality during the two-year period that ended May 20.

Its drivers have been cited for 17 unsafe-driving violations, including eight speeding violations, since 2009. Three of the 46 violations for fatigued driving were classified as serious.

Sky Express also was cited for 120 vehicle-maintenance violations, including one classified as serious. The National Transportation Board was investigating Tuesday's crash. The bus had no passenger seat belts, only for the driver.

David Wong, a manager in the Sky Express office in Charlotte, declined to comment. A telephone message left Tuesday for his attorney, Ruth Yang, wasn't immediately returned.

The records show the company uses 31 motor coaches and 53 drivers, as of May 20. It last underwent a compliance review on April 7.

Deadly bus crashes highlight safety issues

Sky Express offers $30 bus trips between New York and 15 cities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. It also goes to Washington, D.C.

Tuesday's deaths come about two and a half months after a horrific New York City accident that focused attention on bus safety. On March 12, a speeding bus returning to Chinatown from a Connecticut casino toppled off an elevated highway and hit a utility pole, peeling off the roof. Fifteen passengers were killed and 18 injured.

The fleets of inexpensive buses plying the highways of the Northeast offer cheap fares, convenient routes and in some cases free wireless Internet. Customers are picked up daily from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Fares are cheap $10 to $15 for a ride from Boston to New York, compared with $70 or more on Amtrak.

The industry is in the fifth year of a solid boom, thanks to a new breed of bus service that eschews terminals and thrives on low prices. But a string of fatal crashes over six months also has prompted calls for tougher regulation.

Federal authorities say nearly 2,800 spot safety checks of passenger buses across the country from March 28 through April 6 resulted in about 10 percent of the vehicles or drivers being taken off the road.

A series of proposals announced in May by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood would make it easier for the government to take away bus drivers' commercial licenses if they violate drug and alcohol laws while operating a vehicle other than a bus or if they fail to pay fines.

Passenger Frances Lippette, 69, a retired New York schoolteacher who lives in Raleigh, uses Sky Express about every six weeks to visit her daughter in New York.

She went to the ticket office pick up her seat assignment for a bus that's scheduled to depart Tuesday night.

"Normally, somebody would be here to get your seat assignment," she said.

Instead, the glass booth was dark.

She pays less than half the price of a name-brand bus company for the 8-hour ride. It costs $30 each way.

Lippette said Sky Express was "no worse than Greyhound."

She has noticed drivers speaking in Chinese using a headset. But "I've never seen a driver not alert," she said.

Around the corner from where a Sky Express bus arrived in New York is an office for various bus companies. A sign in the window listed Sky Express schedules and prices. However, a woman at the desk said Sky Express was no longer located there. She handed over a card with phone numbers on it. None of the numbers worked or the mailbox was full.
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seaton@mta
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2011, 08:58:23 AM »

The bus was carrying 58 people all looking for a bargain rather than going with a well established bus company.   My heart goes out to the victims but it is like they never watch the news and I can't believe that they haven't noticed the recklessness of some of these drivers.

-- Seaton
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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2011, 09:09:58 AM »

Yes I saw this horrible news yesterday. (and received several calls & emails asking if it was my S217 that had crashed)

Thankfully it was not one of ours!
Now I could either sell them a bus to replace that one or if I'm still interested in how ever long it is until the lawsuits are settled! (the bus will be held in storage until after the lawsuits are settled)

I wish these buses would quit crashing it makes it hard on the rest of us!
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
robertglines1
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2011, 09:16:23 AM »

I wish to repeat BK runs a class act! even his older coaches make the one in the picture look like it ---Bob    parts break and drivers make errors.: I would know his ship has a much higher standard .Much!   . I have rode with him.  Bob
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Bob@Judy  98 XLE prevost with 3 slides --Home done---last one! SW INdiana
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2011, 09:23:22 AM »

I wish to repeat BK runs a class act! even his older coaches make the one in the picture look like it ---Bob    parts break and drivers make errors.: I would know his ship has a much higher standard .Much!   . I have rode with him.  Bob

Thanks Bob. But to be completely honest our old '95 S217 looks an awful lot like the one that crashed. Except I've never seen it upside down. (but I have been under it in the pit many times!)

Bob it's the one I had temporarily immobile during the rally when I backed it off the concrete pad into the soft grass!
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
Len Silva
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2011, 09:40:48 AM »

It seems that there have been so many of these wrecks lately, the vast majority of them by sleazy operators, running junk equipment with under paid and over worked drivers, most of whom could not get a job with a stand up company.

So, how is it that an operation like Kentucky Lakeside can run well maintained equipment, keep good drivers and still make a profit?

And, why is it that all these decent operators are not raising hell and doing all they can to get the sleazebags off the road?

Blaming the victim is not the answer.  It is government authority and the legitimate businesses who need to police these operators.
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2011, 10:05:56 AM »

 It last underwent a compliance review on April 7.

Doesn't suprise me in the least. A nother deadly burocratic blunder.

Ya lets all get help from these same idiots to keep us safer over here too. NO THANKS


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Len Silva
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« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2011, 12:10:33 PM »

That kind of head in the sand approach is not going to solve anything.  The bureaucrats can't do it right so let's not do anything. We don't need any more safety regulations.  Anyone stupid enough to ride a bus for half the going rate should accept responsibility for their actions.  Is that it?

Bus travel remains far safer than most any other transportation but that doesn't mean we have to accept unsafe operators.  If the regulators are not doing a good job then let's demand that they do instead of throwing up our hands and saying the government is not capable.

Of course, we also have to be willing to pay for that regulation and enforcement.
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« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2011, 12:22:27 PM »

Len,
I certainly appreciate your view of the problem.
KY Lakeside Travel and other companies are really having a hard time making a profit these days. It is sad to say that most of us smaller companies are either going under or being bought up by the larger companies. (most smaller operators are selling out for pay off on current debts just to get out from under it, & then going back to work for who bought them out for a steady paycheck!)

Most of us "legitimate" operators have been fighting for years to get something done about the "sleazy fly by night operators". But what really actually happens those of us that actually follow the rules get hit with another rule/law we have to follow and usually costs us more $ in the long run and the sleazy guys get away with out paying that too! They are pretty good at staying one (or more) steps ahead of the guberment agencies and just keep finding more ways to operate.

The base of the problem is the plain and simple fact that the vast majority of people riding the buses only look at how much it cost to ride the bus. Not how much it cost to operate in a safe and professional manner!  So as long as they keep paying the cheap fares or charter rates the sleazy operators keep making more & more $ and finding more ways to beat the system! 
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2011, 10:01:10 PM »

Passanger and trooper  said driver fell asleep. 

  Yet everyone is yelling for changes to make the Bus safer, rather than making the driver fully responsible. Personal resposibility = 0. Changes to rules and regulations to mechanicals = 1.

  I can already hear the leftist argument that driving poor equipment tires you out faster, and we allready know that being tired reduces judgement, so blame the Bus and the company, its not the poor irresponsible drivers fault.

  In aviation, the pilot is not only in command, he/she is expected to know the plane is fully airworthy (safe) by having done a mandated mechanical and control system inspection prior to flight and make an educated go-no-go decision based on that inspection. If you lose control in landing and roll up the plane, the FAA report will say you lost control. IOW, even under extreme conditions, and even with sub standard equipment/failures, your expected to maintain control. How driving ever got relegated to such mediocrity and low responsibility blows me away.

  So IMHO, we dont need more beaurocracy, we dont need more feet on the ground, we dont need more rules. We need to enforce the laws and rules we already have. The driver fell asleep. That completely negates the condition of the Bus as a factor.
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Len Silva
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2011, 05:02:29 AM »

I think you missed my point.

Quote
It seems that there have been so many of these wrecks lately, the vast majority of them by sleazy operators, running junk equipment with under paid and over worked drivers, most of whom could not get a job with a stand up company.

I said that the same companies that would run beat up buses would hire the least qualified drivers.  I agree, personal responsibility is the key, but how do you legislate or enforce that if it not there.

And, how do you enforce the laws we have without spending a LOT more money and hiring more law enforcement?  How do you enforce the rules we have without more feet on the ground?

You cannot compare charter bus service to aviation.  What do you think would happen if a driver for one of those sleazebag companies said "that bus is not safe, and I am not driving it"?  He would be walking down the road talking to his lunchbox and another driver in the seat in a minute.


Quote
It last underwent a compliance review on April 7.
Doesn't suprise me in the least. A nother deadly burocratic blunder.
Ya lets all get help from these same idiots to keep us safer over here too. NO THANKS
Joe,
 AFAIK, a "Compliance Review" is basically a file cabinet audit, nothing to do with ACTUAL performance or inspections of equipment.
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2011, 08:35:42 AM »

I agree absolutely with Len.  With jobs hard to come by, the driver's choice is "work and feed the family", or "don't work and go hungry."  If, in this case, it is shown that the driver fell asleep, what was the cause?  Was it unreasonable schedules, with the company allowing, mandating, or tacitly ignoring Hours of Service violations?  Yes, some of the accidents lately have been drivers with bad records -- but someone hired them.  Even good drivers have to eat, so they must work somewhere.

Right now, I'm doing a consulting job for a regular client.  Overall, generally not bad, but a manager involved in my task will be the keynote speaker at the next proctologist's convention.  Once I'm done with this particular job, I know what I want to say if they call me again.  However, unless my lottery number hits soon, I may have to say "yes." 

Back many years ago, when I was doing safety audits for an insurance carrier, I reviewed a bus company in a nearby state.  They had a perfect safety record, files were in order, but I got a bad feeling about the way they did business (and, I think they tried to bribe me with some consulting work).  Nothing I could put my finger on, but I did have a discussion with the agent.  We need some way to have qualified people monitor each company.  However, as long as people ride the cheapest bus, and charter clients (particularly churches) make the decision on dollars, not potential fatalities, what do we do?  The local police were out on the highway yesterday, doing a truck enforcement/weight check.  How about grants to local police agencies (maybe State police, to take out the buddy-buddy possibility) - to monitor/investigate bus operators based in their area? 

When the Transportation Safety Institute developed its Fatigue Awareness Seminar, I went to one of the very early sessions.  It was a group of four, one for drivers, for supervisors, for managers, then for course instructors.  My take, back then, was that the session for drivers was "don't drink coffee before you go to bed."  The one for Supervisors was "tell the drivers not to drink coffee..."  For Managers -- "tell the Supervisors to tell the drivers..."  For Instructors .. "Tell them all to tell each other to not drink coffee before going to bed."  Since the bulk of my job is preparing driver work schedules in transit "runcutting", that got me pissed off -- it's management's responsibility first to prepare safe schedules.  The drivers also have a responsibility to monitor their off-time.  I volunteered through the National Transit Institute to do a half-day seminar to that effect, making it management's prime responsibility to avoid fatigue.

The problem, as I see it, is insufficient enforcement.  Inspect those buses.  Find defects? -- Pull the bus out of service where it sits.  Driver HOS violation, same thing.  File criminal violations against the company owners.  We had some here in Texas that would be shut down, and reopen under a different company name.  Took the Feds too long to shut down the next company.

Arthur   
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2011, 06:07:21 PM »

Here is the latest news.  Apparently FMCSA had issued a shutdown order, but it was held off for ten days, based on an appeal.  On day 3, the wreck happened.  http://www.news-record.com/content/2011/06/01/article/bus_company_on_verge_of_shutdown

The other sad statistic in the article is that North Carolina State Police performed 465 field safety checks in the last six months.  That averages 2.58 per day -- not even a drop in the bucket.  Of course, we don't know if that really means only 465 vehicles, or a widespread event over six months that was 465 events -- possibly capturing a larger number of vehicles and drivers.

Further, the bus driver's life will never be the same.

Now, here's another thought.  We can rail against sleazebag bus companies, and fatigued bus (and truck) drivers.  However, how many of us have pushed for another few miles, when we're tired (I raise my hand, too).  This is what can happen.  I teach a two-day bus scheduling course.  I hit fatigue, and spend quite a bit of time on it.  One of the things I always include is the question "If a person is drunk, who is the least likely to say that the individual is drunk?"  (Of course, it's the drunk himself/herself).  "OK, if a person is tired/fatigued, not fit for duty, who is the least likely person to say that the individual is unfit?"  (Of course, it's the unfit employee who's there for a paycheck.) 

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2011, 09:24:03 PM »

Here is the latest news.  Apparently FMCSA had issued a shutdown order, but it was held off for ten days, based on an appeal.  On day 3, the wreck happened. 

  So our choice is, live in a more totalitarian state with spot checks and heavy enforcement of compliance with heavy fines, or lay the responsibility fully, and squarely, on the driver. Yes, weve all pushed it, sometimes farther than we should have. But I think most people are concientious enough to make fairly decent educated decisions. And if we knew our butt was gonna be on the spit if we blow it big, we tioghten it up and get more careful.

  Are adults really acting any different than the children we raise? Do not the vast majority react the same way to laxidaisical rules? Take drinking and driving. The only thing thats helping is strong crimininal proceedings that get the ones who cant figure it out off the road, and teach the rest of us we better damn well watch it.

  The most unsafe Bus is far safer in the hands of a safe driver, than the safest Bus in the hands of someone who is careless. There really isnt anyone pointing a gun at anyones head to drive equipment thats truly unsafe. Put the responsibility on the driver. Just like we do for drunk driving, and just like we do with car insurance. Its the drivers responsibility all the way around. Anything less is simply irresponsible and shifting responsibility to those who shouldnt carry the burden.
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