Fatal Bus Crash Puts Spotlight on Bus Safety

By January 7, 2008Highway Safety

The safety records of both the owner and the operator of a bus that overturned earlier this month in Texas, killing one and injuring 45 passengers, have come under close scrutiny.
A story in the Houston Chronicle reports that Capricorn Bus Lines, the owner of a bus that rolled over on Jan. 2 in Victoria, Texas while heading back to Houston from Monterrey, had settled a lawsuit for $3.3 million with the victims of a 2002 crash. The victims in the earlier crash claimed the inattentiveness of the driver caused the bus to roll over.
The newspaper also reports that the operator of the bus, International Charter Services, has been cited 19 times in three years by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
A complex business arrangement allows Capricorn, which does not have legal permission to drive to Mexico, to sell tickets for the Houston to Monterrey route. Capricorn then leases its buses to ICS, which does have legal authority to operate the route.
On Jan. 2, Roberto Garcia Cruz, who was hired by Capricorn, was driving the bus that overturned. According to the Houston Chronicle, authorities investigating the accident believe Cruz may have fallen asleep while driving. The accident killed a 55-year-old man, resulted in the arm amputation of a female passenger, and sent dozens of others to the hospital.
Texas state troopers and investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are reviewing the crash.
The woman who lost her arm in the accident has already filed suit. It is likely that her lawyers will be sifting through the bus companies’ safety records and reviewing the history of the driver. Bus companies are common carriers and therefore must act in a highly responsible way to ensure the safety of their passengers.