In May 2011, a bus traveling from Greensboro, N.C., to New York’s Chinatown veered off I-95 in Virginia, hit an embankment and overturned. Four passengers were killed and 50 were injured. The driver acknowledged falling asleep, according to court documents.
The bus operator, Sky Express Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., had been cited for 46 violations of driver fatigue rules in two years. The company was ordered to shut down after the accident, but within days it resumed business under two new names, according to the Transportation Department. That move prompted a second shutdown order from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Several other bus companies also were ordered to shut down last summer after a comprehensive compliance review of their operations.
“The investigation of those operators uncovered additional problems and serious safety violations with other I-95 carriers, and … investigators have been working diligently ever since to establish the links between the bus networks,” the safety administration said in a statement.
But the safety administration, which works with states to enforce safety regulation of interstate bus companies, is overburdened, an NTSB report released last fall said. There are 878 federal and state inspectors able to conduct safety reviews of 765,000 bus and truck companies, or an average of slightly more than one inspector for 1,000 companies, the report said.
There were 24 motor coach crashes last year, resulting in 34 fatalities and 467 injuries, according to an unofficial tally kept by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.