The safety of small tour buses and 15-passenger vans is again being called into question in the wake of last week’s fatal Arizona bus accident. As we reported on our Phoenix Injury Lawyers Blog, 11 passengers were aboard the bus when it rolled over several times on Pierce Ferry Road. Two passengers were killed and several others were taken by helicopter and ambulance to area hospitals with serious injuries. The bus was taking Chinese tourists from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. It is the third high-profile fatal bus accident in Arizona in the past two years.
FOX News reports three Chinese tourists were killed while riding a small shuttle bus carrying 14 people. A personal injury lawsuit has been filed, claiming the driver had been smoking pot the night before and was sustaining himself with nicotine gum and energy drinks at the time of the crash. Investigators believe fatigue was a major factor and that the driver fell asleep, causing the bus to leave the road and flip over. He faces 10 felony counts, including negligent driving under the influence and logbook and lane-change violations.
Our Phoenix Injury Attorneys note that the government just issued a warning to organizations that rely on 15-passenger vans to transport guests after a pair of fatal crashes in New York and Georgia. As Arizona prepares for winter tourist season, more and more of these vans and shuttle buses will be in use by hotels, nursing homes, resorts, churches and other organizations. Such organizations have an obligation to provide for the safety of passengers and guests.
The government deems the 15-passenger vans so dangerous that it has forbidden schools from purchasing new vans for school transportation purposes. The two recent accidents in New York and Georgia claimed 10 lives.
Tire maintenance is vitally important for van safety — tire blowouts frequently contribute to rollover accidents. And the Arizona Department of Transportation frequently cites tire safety as an issue of particular importance on Arizona’s hot, desolate stretches of highway.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also warns that tires degrade over time — and putting a van into service after a period of inactivity — like many businesses and organizations do at the start of tourist season — can be a particularly dangerous time. Spare tires should not be used to replace worn tires and no tires older than 10 years should be left in service at all.
Safety Tips for 15 passenger vans include:
-Owners need to make sure a transport vehicle is properly maintained.
-Drivers need to be properly trained and licensed.
-15-passenger vans are very sensitive to loading and should not be overloaded. Overloading increases rollover risks and reduces handling.
-Owners need to make sure properly sized tires are being used and are properly inflated and in good repair.
-Drivers should check tires for proper tire inflation before every trip. Tires should also be checked thoroughly for signs of wear.
-Passengers should wear their seat belts.
If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact the Phoenix accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (602) 819-5191 today.