Reckless driving ends in disaster
A three-day bus tour ended in tragedy. E-World Travel and Tours had organized a trip that would leave Manhattan, stop at Niagara Falls and then head down south through Pennsylvania and Washington DC. The bus broke down in upstate New York.
When the replacement bus showed up, the driver, Jinli Zhao, told the tour guide that he was already “very tired” and said that continuing to drive would push him well beyond the daily hour limit. Despite this, the tour had a very tight schedule and Allan Ge, the tour guide, said that there was “nothing he could do.” They took off right away.
Mr. Zhao drove so recklessly that he scared many of the passengers. He regularly sped up, slammed on his brakes and cut off other drivers on the road. Mr. Zhao swerved dangerously in and out of his lane, and he was almost constantly distracted by talking on his phone for most of the trip. He drank energy drinks, one after the other.
The bus was going much too fast as it exited the freeway. It tipped over and rolled down a grassy embankment, eventually coming to a stop at the bottom. Of the fifty people on the bus, three passengers died. Nearly everyone else was injured.
The bus was insured for $5 million, the minimum amount possible. But the judge determined that the 40 victims’ combined award for the damages and loss they had sustained should have been $9.26 million, almost twice what their insurance would cover. Thus, the judge was forced to award each victim only half of what they needed.
Bus companies must do more to ensure the safety of their passengers
Private bus charter companies must uphold the same safety measures as trucking companies and all other motorists on the road. They must allow their drivers enough time to rest between jobs and not insist that they drive for more than 10 hours a day. Bus drivers must be given proper safety training and held to strict safety guidelines. E-World Tours should have ensured that their driver was fully qualified and that he operated the vehicle safely, without distraction. Had they taken the necessary steps to ensure that their driver was operating the vehicle safely, this tragic accident would never have happened.
No amount of money can ever make up for the loss of a loved one. After an accident as severe as this one, however, there are a lot of expenses. Not just medical bills. The damage and injuries people face in the wake of an accident like this can have a lasting impact on their work and home life. In some cases, a person might not be able to work again, or they might need ramps, rails or other alterations to their homes. Hiring knowledgeable and compassionate representation like the California bus accident attorney at the Law Offices of Brian Brandt could mean the difference between struggling financially after a traumatic event or ensuring that you and your family are taken care of in the years to come, so that you and all others who are affected have the time you need to heal. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us today. We will do all we can to make sure you are taken care of in the years to come.