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Motorcoach was Afoul of Standards in Fatal Accident

The Drama
 
In January 2008 on Route 59 near Victoria, Texas, a northbound motorcoach overturned and struck a guardrail. One passenger died from injuries, and the driver and all 46 other passengers were injured, some seriously. The motorcoach was operated by a Houston bus company, but was traveling from Mexico that day. The coach was a newer Volvo model and was registered in Texas. However, the coach was manufactured in Mexico and was not intended to be used in the United States. The motorcoach did not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
 
Underhanded Ploy?
 
The investigation into the crash exposed an alleged scheme to move nonconforming motorcoaches illegally into the US through Texas. A Dallas-based company was behind the plan to take advantage of relaxed California registration rules. A two-day hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed the truth. 
 
"The hearing revealed holes in the way buses are inspected and registered,- stated Ken Presley, Vice President of the United Motorcoach Association and representative for the motorcoach industry. "The NTSB has every reason to be concerned because they have uncovered dozens of buses registered and operating in violation of federal safety standards.-
 
Border safety inspections may be too lax. "No Texas or US motor carrier safety officers were on duty when the 2005 Volvo motorcoach crossed the border hours before a fatal crash. The coach, passengers, and baggage were all checked by the customs and border officers when it came into the US at Laredo, Texas, but apparently the resources to inspect the vehicle for safety compliance was unavailable,- said Presley.
 
Hopefully some good can come from the hearing, so that now bus passengers and drivers in the US can feel safe, knowing that the motorcoach they are riding has been inspected and is compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. For more information about the motorcoach industry, go to http://www.uma.org.

By Neil Whitehall
Get Bus Driver Jobs, Contributing Editor

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