NHTSA Under Reports Fatal Bus Crashes

By Peter DePaolis

Thirty-seven people did not make it to Niagara Falls from Washington, D.C., and two of those people died when their tour bus crashed last month in New York State. Investigators suspect that a blown tire caused the bus to veer off the road and into a wooded area where it tipped on its side.

The Washington Post reported that rescuers pulled the injured from the bus and all appeared to suffer some sort of injuries in the bus accident. A 52-year-old and 66-year-old lost their lives in the crash. None of the passengers wore a seatbelt, according to investigators.

Equally alarming as this recent crash, is a recent report from USA Today that found the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under-reports the number of fatal bus accidents. Underreporting of fatal bus crashes allows the bus industry to proclaim that bus travel is safer than it actually is.

USA Today found that NHTSA failed to report 42 deaths from bus accidents from 1995 to 2009. Representatives from NHTSA presented the flawed numbers in their testimony before Congress and in reports to the public. One example is a high-profile bus crash in Louisiana that killed eight people in 2003, but NHTSA overlooked in its crash statistics.

Whatever its reason for doing so, NHTSA’s actions in underreporting fatal crashes have raised the eyebrow of senators on both sides of the aisle who vow to investigate the matter. Potential passengers deserve to know exactly how safe or unsafe America’s passenger buses are. Contact our dedicated team today.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Injury Attorneys

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.