Bus Travel – What You Need To Know
In this INSIDER EXCLUSIVE Investigative TV Show, our News team”Goes Behind The Headlines” in “BUS TRAVEL – What You Should Know” ….. to investigate this deadly serious problem with Jim Scherr, Partner at Scherr Legate, who successfully represented three Mexican tourists, seriously injured in a major accidentnear Belen, ,New Mexico.
In late 2013, National Transportation Safety Board NTSB Chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman sharply criticized the federal agency Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ,that oversees commercial truck and bus safety, for lax oversight of the bus and commercial trucking industryShe maintained that the agency either did not notice or did not act upon warning signals in four recent commercial vehicle crashes that resulted in 25 deaths and 83 injuries. She said basically said that this….”Fed agency let risky truck and bus carriers operate”. She urged regulators to “crack down before crashes occur, not just after high-visibility events,” and noted a record of safety violations at bus and trucking companies that later had fatal accidents.
NTSB officials released more than 2,000 pages of documents from investigations into fatal accidents conducted over the past year. In total, NTSB officials said, 25 people were killed and 83 were injured. Each investigation revealed safety deficiencies and signs of problems that were evident before the crashes, yet went unnoticed or weren’t addressed by regulators.
Bus safety is overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation and enforced by individual state law enforcement agenciesAll bus companies that travel through the United States should be subject to the same safety regulations as US based companies, which includes random roadside stops and inspections as well as annual reviews of the company’s safety records, vehicles maintenance and drivers.
All operators face two kinds of inspections: random roadside stops and annual reviews that focus on vehicle maintenance and driver recordsThe scheduled inspections typically occur at bus yards, where authorities can access the vehicles, driver records and maintenance histories.
But some Mexico-based operators are handled differently. Officials said it’s not uncommon for Mexico-based bus lines — and some U.S. operators — to set up inspections at a pre-arranged location for inspections to be carried out, and that it is easy for such operators to conceal poorly maintained vehicles
Many are smaller operations with storefront offices and off-site bus yards. “Investigators have found that some companies had failed to ensure that its vehicles were systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, and that its drivers were properly qualified and licensed, contrary to information provided by company officials in January 2014,” reported the Transportation Department.
Bus companies can change their names and routes overnight, making safety statistics about the trans-border operators nearly impossible to monitor. The most critical shortcoming is that new bus companies are allowed to operate for up to 18 months before inspectors check their buses and drivers. ‘The government has to figure out a better way of identifying and watching these companies, from a safety perspective, than they’ve done in the past,” ”They don’t hear about these companies until something happens.”
Without financial backing and management expertise, these stories of hard-working immigrants starting their own transportation companies have had tragic endings when unsafe buses, or impaired drivers, are involved in fatal accidents, here and in Mexico.
FMCSA’s task of regulating trucks and buses is a ”daunting, monumental task, ” given the disparities in federal transportation resources. There are some 4,100 inspectors with the FAA who regulate 114 commercial airlines and 700,000 pilots, while the FMSCA has only 148 inspectors to monitor 575,000 bus and trucking companies and 7 million commercial drivers. A number of fatal crashes each year by marginal operators forces state and federal safety officials to contend with a poorly regulated segment of the industry that operates largely under the radar
On their trip from Chihuahua, Mexico to Denver, Colorado for vacation April 24, 2005, as passengers on the Americanos Bus lines, aU.S. bus company that brings Mexican citizens to the U.S. with Mexican bus drivers, that Americanos gets licensed to drive in the U.S
This particular Mexican bus driver was driving dangerously on the Interstate Freeway, at night, hitting an 18-wheeler from behind, injuring over 30 passengersThe bus company tried to reduce their liability by trying to diminish value of the damages…. claiming the Mexican Citizens have less value in damages because they are from another country and the victims couldn’t prove their damages because evidence could not be obtained from Mexico and the victims couldn’t return to the U.S. because of the cost.
Scherr Legate Law Firm, with its resources, contacts in Mexico and bilingual attorneys and staff was able to gather the evidence, obtain crossing permits, found transportation from Mexico to Albuquerque on several occasions, arranged medical appointments with U.S. doctors and obtained an economic expert to prove up the extent of damages
As Jim will explain, Foreign nationals injured, maimed and killed in the U.S. are disadvantaged, not only in the language, customs and contracts, but in proving their case, appearing in Court and presenting their evidence and damages
But, Scherr Legate, using its resources, contacts and bilingual attorneys and staff protect the rights of human beings and prosecute their rights to the fullest extent of the law. Jim Scherr knows how to make sure juries understand how injuries can truly devastate a person’s personal and professional life! Most lawyers didn’t want to pursue these cases because they think they’re too difficult to win….But this is personal for Jim . It’s why he became a lawyer…. and has tried over 200 jury trials In representing all his clients, Jim will never be outworked. And he will not rest until justice is done for his clients. His results speak for themselves. …..
Jim has earned the highest respect from citizens and lawyers alike…. as one of the best Trial lawyers in El Paso…. In Texas….. and in the nationAND BECAUSE OF THAT…..He is driven to fight for people who had been harmed by the willful or negligent actions of othersJim has built a substantial reputation nationwide by consistently winning cases other law firms have turned down. And his amazing courtroom skills and headline grabbing success rate continue to provide his clients with the results they need……And the results they deserve.