Imagine the unthinkable pain of losing a child in a tragic school bus accident, only to later discover that the school had chosen a bus company listed as “unacceptable” by state authorities. The shock, anger, and heartbreak that follow such a revelation are unimaginable. In the wake of the recent Orange County, New York bus crash involving Regency Transportation, grieving parents are left grappling with this devastating truth, questioning the choices made by the educational institutions responsible for their children’s safety.
Bus operators on the state’s list of unacceptable operators may still continue to operate, but they face heightened scrutiny and more rigorous inspections from state authorities. This added level of oversight is designed to ensure the safety of passengers and prevent further accidents. The bus involved in the tragic crash had recently been acquired by Regency Transportation in the summer. Surprisingly, the New York Department of Transportation had already inspected it twice before the accident occurred. Both inspections resulted in a passing grade, indicating that the bus met the necessary safety standards. However, this does not tell the whole story.
History of Failed Inspections
Regency Transportation’s inclusion on the list of unacceptable operators stems from a history of failed inspections. Over the last two years, the company has failed seven state inspections of other buses. These failures raise serious questions about the company’s commitment to safety and maintenance. In an interview with CBS News (see video below), Transportation expert Carl Berkowitz emphasized the need for a proactive approach, especially when it comes to transporting children. Parents, understandably, are concerned about the safety of their children when they see a bus labeled as “unacceptable.” The community deserves to know why this designation was applied to Regency Transportation.
According to a spokesperson for the state DOT, many of the issues identified during inspections involved problems with the braking systems on several Regency buses. When such critical safety components are compromised, immediate action is imperative. The affected buses were rightfully taken out of service until the issues were rectified. In addition to braking system concerns, the DOT also discovered issues related to recordkeeping and rear axles. These findings underscore the need for thorough and consistent maintenance procedures within the transportation industry.
While investigators are still working to determine the precise cause of the Orange County crash, initial reports suggest that the failure of a front tire may have played a role. However, it is crucial not to jump to conclusions prematurely. As Carl Berkowitz wisely advises, we must await the findings of experts to establish the true cause of the accident.
Federal regulators have also issued 25 violations to Regency over the past two years. These inspections were separate from the state’s, and despite the 25 violations Regency had maintained a satisfactory rating with federal regulators.
The tragic bus crash in Orange County serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of stringent safety standards and thorough inspections within the transportation industry. As bus accident lawyers, we remain committed to advocating for the rights of accident victims and their families, and to holding accountable those responsible for accidents that result in injury and loss of life. In fact, our attorneys have not only secured the highest verdict for a bus accident victim in the state of New York but have also achieved the highest verdict in NY state for cases involving school accidents.