Shortly before dawn on Tuesday morning, a First Class Tours, Inc. bus carrying Channelview band students crashed into a 50 foot ravine in Baldwin County, Alabama. The students were traveling home to Channelview from a trip to Disney World in Florida. The driver was killed, and dozens of students were injured. This type of crash often causes traumatic brain injuries, as well as orthopedic injuries.
By all accounts, this was a one-vehicle collision. The most common causes of this type of bus crash are driver fatigue and vehicle equipment failure.
Federal and state law have strict requirements for interstate drivers of commercial vehicles. Despite these rules, which limit hours behind the wheel, and require scheduled rest breaks, a crash study by the Department of Transportation study found that, in collisions where the truck was at fault, 87 per cent were caused by driver fatigue. Many of these collisions occur between midnight and 6 a.m. — the time of day when drivers are naturally drowsy.
Federal and state laws also require regular maintenance and daily inspection of commercial vehicles. Equipment failure, such as brakes that are dangerously worn or out of adjustment, often cause fatal collisions. It is the driver’s responsibility to check his rig at the beginning of every trip, and to submit a vehicle maintenance report. In spite of these requirements, poor vehicle maintenance is also a major cause of truck and bus collisions.
The tour company’s online safety record shows that the company has been involved in four crashes in the past two years including one fatality.
You can read the safety report here
According to other news reports, Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Reports offer details of three crashes involving the company’s buses without deaths or injuries. In January, a bus driver was given a warning citation in Houston for turning too wide after the bus and an SUV collided. In August 2017 in Sugar Land, near Houston, a bus was hit from behind in traffic. In March 2016, a man driving an SUV was cited for an unsafe lane change in front of a bus after the two vehicles collided in Houston. See http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-texas-school-bus-crash-20180313-story.html