A horrific accident occurred in Texas recently that made me think of all of the charter buses that come through Northwest Florida to visit our beautiful Emerald Coast. It was an accident that killed eight people and injured 44 others in a one-vehicle rollover. Both state and federal investigators are working on this case as a result of the significance of all of those injured and those who had died, but also due to questions as to the operations and the maintenance of buses in this charter bus company. According to the article, investigators have requested inspection and maintenance records and examined the bus and the scene,
According to federal online records, OGA Charters, based in San Juan, Texas, has two buses and the Motor Carrier Safety Administration had it listed with a “satisfactory” rating in May 2014. OGA Charters, which did not respond to requests for comment from various news agencies, had twice been ordered by Louisiana state inspectors in 2015 to take one of its buses off the road to fix brake and emergency exit problems. Regulators ordered OGA Charters to sideline the bus in May 2015 because of brake problems and again in August of last year when they were getting worse, according to the records. The May 2015 inspection in Louisiana reported brake connections with leaks, problems with the automatic brake adjustment system and a discolored windshield. The bus was put out of service because 20 percent or more of its brakes were defective. The August 2015 inspection found “general” brake problems, citing some of the same problems, and the emergency exit issue. The report also noted the discolored windshield problem and again ordered the bus out of service.
It was not immediately clear if that was same charter bus that crashed in Texas or what steps the company took to fix the problems with its shelved bus between inspections. Records noted that the company had reported no crashes in the last two years prior to Saturday. But six driver and vehicle inspections since 2014 found 15 total violations, ranging from driver records and hours they were on the road, to vehicle maintenance problems.
According to the latest data available by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 31 fatal motorcoach crashes in 2014, resulting in the death of 47 people, 19 of whom were passengers.
If you decide to hire a charter bus for a group of people, do your research before you book. Here is some helpful information: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/Think-Safety-PC-Brochure.pdf
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a charter bus accident, contact us at Brannon & Brannon for a free consultation. (850)659-2252 or through our website: www.brannoncanhelp.com