Two recent  crashes of buses transporting Hispanic immigrant passengers highlight problems in safety of charter and tour buses, particularly those providing low-priced transportation for that market segment.

Investigation of a recent Capricorn Bus Lines crash in Victoria, Texas, revealed that  the company has been cited 19 times in the past three years for issues ranging from incomplete driver log books to cracked windshields and tire tread separation, and settled a lawsuit two years ago with victims in a similar wreck in Mexico for $3.3 million. The driver in the Victoria crash was tested for alcohol and drugs, but driver fatigue is apparently the prime focus of the NTSB investigation. One passenger was killed and another had an arm amputated.

Meanwhile, investigation of an Arkansas crash of a charter bus bound from Chicago to Houton has revealed that the driver had amphetamines in his system, impairing his ability to safely operate the bus, prosecutors said Thursday.  The Tornado Bus Co. vehicle carrying 46 passengers and crossed a median from the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 and collided with a pickup truck in the eastbound lanes. An oncoming semitrailer truck then collided with the bus. The dead included the driver of the pickup and three bus passengers. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Tapia was ticketed for speeding in April 2005. The agency’s records, which only include the last three years, did not specify whether he was cited while driving a Tornado bus.

Whatever opinions one may hold regarding immigration policies, safety of buses operating on our highways must not be compromised.  Unfortunately, safety enforcement has been lax, costing lives of both passengers on such buses and others on the highways.



The Ken Shigley represents plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases statewide in Georgia, and in other states subject to the multijurisdictional practice and pro hac vice rules in each state.  Mr. Shigley particularly focuses on cases arising from truck and bus accidents.