57 people were injured on Saturday, August 14, 2021 when their tour bus ran off the New York State Thruway and rolled over, according to Syracuse.com.
The single-vehicle accident occurred around 12:40 pm, when the bus overturned on the westbound side of the NYS Thruway, near the village of Weedsport. According to local first responders, there were scratches on the top of the bus from where it rolled over and skidded along the highway, and almost all the windows had blown out.
The tour bus had left from Poughkeepsie and was on its way to Niagara Falls, carrying 57 passengers, including children. Every person on the bus was taken to local hospitals for injuries; some were minor and some were more serious. Port Byron Fire Chief Corey Rooker said that even after 30 years on the job, he had never seen anything like this “in terms of the number of people injured.”
30 of the injured were taken to Upstate University Hospital, which is a top-level trauma center specially equipped to handle serious injuries. The remaining 27 victims were taken to Auburn Community Hospital for treatment. The hospital, which has a 99-bed capacity, had to have a mass-injury incident team of health care workers come in to help with the treatment response. As of late Saturday evening, they had discharged 20 patients and transferred seven with more serious injuries to Upstate University Hospital.
It is still unclear why the bus ran off the road and rolled over. The bus had been operated by JTR Transportation, a company based in Poughkeepsie. According to records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), JTR Transportation had a “satisfactory” safety rating as of this past April, which is the highest possible. The operating company only had one other crash on record in the past two years. Their safety inspection records over the past two years show seven violations. Two of these were for a driver exceeding the 10-hour driving limit, and the other five were for the company’s failure to keep records of their drivers’ duty status.
Although there is no definitive cause of the crash as of yet, this incident reminds us of the importance of bus safety. There are federal safety requirements set by the FMCSA that are meant to ensure crashes like this one never happen. Buses are a type of commercial vehicle, which means they are subject to most of the commercial vehicle regulations set by the FMCSA. This means that most bus drivers should have a commercial drivers’ license (CDL), are subject to alcohol and drug testing, must abide by hours of service regulations, and need to ensure their vehicle is safe to drive before doing so. If an accident occurs and one or more of these regulations has not been followed, it is possible the bus driver or the bus operating company could be at fault.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus or other motor vehicle accident, the personal injury attorneys at Block O’Toole & Murphy can help. We have years of experience obtaining compensation for clients who have been injured as a result of another party’s negligence. Select results include a $22,500,000 settlement for a car crash victim in Upstate New York, and a $6,000,000 settlement for a passenger who was injured on an NYC Transit Authority bus.
Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form to speak with a qualified attorney today.