Archive for March, 2013

28
Mar 2013
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California Tour Bus Company Shut Down After Fatal Wreck

In February 2013, the LA Times reports that eight people lost their lives and dozens more suffered injury while aboard a tour bus owned and operated by Scapadas Magicas LLC. The tragic bus accident happened at approximately 6:30 p.m. and occurred when the bus was involved in a collision with a sedan and a truck. Following the accident, an investigation was launched in Scapadas Magicas LLC, and the motor carrier’s license to operate was suspended. 

Our Orange County accident attorneys are glad that swift action was taken and that Scapadas Magicas LLC will no longer be able to operate tour buses under dangerous conditions that put passengers at risk. It is tragic that a deadly accident had to occur to reveal that this bus company was cutting dangerous corners.

The Accident and the Investigation

The accident involving the Scapadas Magicas LLC bus occurred on California 38. After the bus hit the truck and sedan, some of the passengers became trapped inside of the bus. Others were forcefully ejected as a result of the impact. The scene was a gruesome one, and it took in excess of two hours for rescue workers to be able to get all passengers off the bus.

To address the serious injuries that the bus passengers were facing after the crash, rescuers set up a triage at roadside. In the end, 27 passengers had to be taken to local hospitals as a result of their injuries, six of whom were considered to be in critical condition. There were also eight dead.

An investigation was immediately launched after this disaster, and it was quickly determined that Scapadas Magicas LLC had allegedly not been following guidelines or industry practices when screening and hiring their drivers. The motor carrier fell short in even making sure that the drivers they hired had minimum qualifications or a commercial drivers license.

The motor carrier also failed in fulfilling the obligation set forth under federal law to regularly inspect the buses in their fleet and to perform any necessary maintenance or repairs. The laws addressing maintenance and repair of tour buses are established in FMCSA rule section 396.3 mandating that all motor carriers “systematically” have their fleet inspected and maintained.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also has additional authority beyond setting operating regulations and guidelines for bus and trucking companies. Under Section 32112 of MAP-21, the FMCSA has the authority to suspend, withhold or revoke operating authority of bus companies if the company or its employees has a “pattern and practice” of failing to comply with safety rules.

States also have their own rules and regulations that supplement the FMCSA rules.

Based on the regulations in place, investigators were able to stop Scapadas Magicas from continuing to operate. This is important because the company owns two other motor coaches in addition to the one involved in the deadly accident. Had Scapadas Magicas continued to remain licensed to operate, more people might have been put in danger.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.

21
Mar 2013
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Teen Car Accident in Irvine Leaves Two Dead

On March 12, a 65-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman were killed on Eastwood near the Venta Spur Trail in Irvine, California. The death of the couple occurred when a 17-year-old driver allegedly left the roadway and drove onto a sidewalk, hitting the couple before coming to a stop against a tree and retaining wall. The teen driver was not injured in the accident. 

Our Irvine injury attorneys know an investigation is still underway into what caused the teen driver to lose control of his vehicle and drive onto the sidewalk.

Teen Drivers Create Major Accident Risk in SoCal

Unfortunately, traffic collisions involving young drivers are an all-too-common story.  Teenage drivers, in general, get into more accidents than older drivers, and an IIHS report indicated that drivers ages 15-19 make more insurance claims than any other age group of drivers. In fact, these drivers make a full 70 percent more insurance claims than other age groups.

Teen drivers are also more likely than most other drivers to engage in dangerous driving behaviors such as texting behind the wheel, and driving while fatigued.

Distraction.gov, for example, indicated that 11 percent of drivers ages 20 and under who were involved in fatal wrecks were distracted. Further, a Pew survey revealed that 40 percent of teens had been in a car with a young driver doing something dangerous with a cell phone.

The dangerous behaviors of teen drivers, coupled with their inexperience and general inability to cope effectively with road conditions, contributes to making auto accidents one of the top causes of death for young people. Unfortunately, as this tragic accident shows, teenage drivers are a danger not only to themselves but to others as well.

Helping Teenage Drivers to Say Safe

It is very important for teenage drivers to be equipped with the tools to ensure they stay safe and they do not endanger others. This means that parents should make sure that their kids have safe cars with working brakes that are well maintained. It also means that parents should set clear driving rules for their teenagers and have guidelines in place to ensure that those rules are being followed.

Parents, in particular, should focus on the dangers of:

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Intoxicated driving (drunk or impaired driving)
  • Tailgating and aggressive driving
  • Road rage
  • Driving in bad weather conditions
  • Driving while fatigued

Parents should model good behavior for their teenagers as well, since the choices young drivers make behind the wheel are affected by what they observe.

It is unclear whether the recent accident in Irvine was caused by something that the teenage driver did wrong or was a result of some failure with the vehicle. However, if the teen did make driving errors or engage in dangerous behavior, this tragic accident is an example of a situation where two lives could potentially have been saved had he been more committed to  safe driving.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.