Safety Officials Tighten Appeal Rules After Fatal Virginia Crash


Posted on 3rd June 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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Here’s another tragic note to add to the tour bus crash in Virginia this week that killed four people.

The New York Times reported that the bus operator, Sky Express, had been allowed to keep operating while it appealed safety violations. The bottom line is that if the company hadn’t received that extension, its license would have been suspended last Saturday, three days before the fatal accident, according to The Times.

As a result of this case, U.S. Department of Transportation Ray LaHood announced Wednesday that carriers would no longer be given extra time for appeals.

“Following Tuesday’s horrific bus crash in Virginia, I have directed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to end its practice of extending the appeals period for unsafe motorcoach companies,” LaHood said in a statement. “There is no excuse for delay when a bus operator should be put out of service for safety’s sake.”

Back in April the motor carrier administration found that Sky Express had a number of alleged violations, such as those realting to driver training, The Times reported. 

“The carrier was given an unsatisfactory rating and banned from making interstate trips,” The Times said. “Sky Express appealed the ruling and was eventually given an extension of 10 days.”

Authorities suspect that the driver of the bus that crashed in Virginia, Kin Yiu Cheung, of Queens, fell asleep while driving, which caused the accident. He has been chrged with reckless driving.

The Times reported that Sky Express has been cited for driver fatigue 46 times in the past two years.

I guess this fatal crash will wind up making it 47.



Yet Another Tour Bus Crash, This One Killing Four In Virginia


Posted on 1st June 2011 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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There’s been a third fatal accident involving a low-cost bus line that serves Manhattan’s Chinatown, so let’s hope federal regulators fast track their report on regulating this industry.

The latest catastrophe took place Tuesday in Virginia, when a bus headed from Greensboro, N.C., to Chinatown went off Interstate 95 and rolled over onto its roof. Four people died in the crash and 54 were injured.

The bus driver, Kin Yiu Cheung, 37, of Queens, N.Y., was being held in jail on charges of reckless driving. Police believe that he fell asleep while driving. And, no coincidence here, his employer, Sky Express, has repeatedly been cited for fatigued driving.

In fact, according to The New York Times Sky Express has received 46 violations for fatigued driving in the past two years. The bus operator has had four accidents during that period, including one where was a fatality or injury, The Times reported.

Back in March there was another fatal accident involving a low-cost bus line that serves Chinatown. A tour bus went off Interstate 95 in the Bronx, N.Y., killing 15 people. That bus was traveling from a Connecticut casino to Chinatown.

That crash prompted the National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] to take a look at how low-cost bus operators are regulated, a study that is still in progress. The NTSB is supposed to issue a report on its findings later this year.     

The sooner the better, because fatal bus accidents in recent months seem to be almost a weekly event.

This industry obviously needs more stringent regulation, and the sooner that happens the more innocent lives will be saved.