Since Texas law prohibits casino-style gambling, every day Texans flock to gambling resorts in neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana — and some pay the ultimate price due to catastrophic accidents. Families of victims can claim economic recovery by means of a casino bus lawsuit provided by our law firm.
Tour bus crashes have become tragically routine. For example, an April 2013 crash of a Cardinal Coach Line casino bus out of Grand Prairie on the President George Bush Turnpike in Irving, near Dallas, killed three people (one died later at a hospital) and injured 40 who were all heading from Texas to the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, OK.
The tour bus went off the roadway, struck a concrete barrier and rolled over onto one side, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
These accidents are not isolated to Texas. In Southern California, five casino tour buses have crashed over the past several weeks, killing 2 and injuring 120.
The National Transportation Safety Board says around 30,000 coaches carry about 700 million persons each year. The risks involved with traveling via casino tour buses are numerous. Most of these vehicles lack seatbelts, which means passengers are at a higher risk in a wreck, especially if the vehicle tips over or rolls over. After a tour bus rollover, victims can be killed by “roof-crush” if the bus lands upside down.
Tour buses also can be involved in rear-end crashes, head-on collisions, crashes into a center median and crashes due to sudden stops and starts.
If casino tour buses are poorly maintained they may be riding on defective tires, and tire blowouts can cause catastrophic wrecks. Beyond that, many drivers are not required to have special training for the job.
Buses have many windows and these can break and injure passengers during a crash. Buses also have large interiors, where victims can careen and bounce off walls, the floor, the ceiling, seats, rails or other passengers in a collision. Unsecured luggage or other objects also can hurl about the large bus cabin in a crash. Wheelchair lift defects and door injuries also can injure passengers of a casino tour bus, many of whom are senior citizens.
However, despite casino tour bus safety problems the total number of persons killed yearly in a motor coach is 21, according to the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety. That makes such vehicles safer statistically than riding in a passenger car, at least in terms of car accident fatalities.
Yet while deaths are low, the NTSB says 8,000 persons yearly are injured while riding in such buses. Another safety problem is that some casino tour bus operators are “fly by night” operations. When forced to close for safety violations, they may simply reopen under a new name and continue endangering passengers to make a quick buck.
In terms of how tour buses can be safer, installing seat belts would be a life-saving first step. The NTSB for years has urged that seat belts be added to buses, saying they could cut accident deaths in half.
Also, training and certifications could be required for bus drivers, as they are already for school bus drivers. The remote locations of some casinos on steep or winding rural roads can make driving a large bus difficult enough for trained drivers. How large? A 54-seat motor coach can weigh 20 tons.
Such measures can be implemented by the state and federal agencies which regulate tour buses. In Texas, a commercial driver’s license or CDL is required to drive a charter tour bus, which requires special training and a skills test.
On the federal level, tour buses are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It has been criticized by the NTSB for its hesitance in sidelining negligent drivers.
Liability in a tour bus crash depends on the circumstances of the accident. Crashes may be caused by driver error or equipment failure, both of which concern management and owners.
As many casino tour buses are operating under contract deals set up between casinos and the bus lines ferrying passengers to their doors, the casino itself can be sued. However, the casino is likely to deny any responsibility for the bus line it engaged.
But the casino itself may be paying for the bulk of the ride. Bus fees tend to be small, in order to lure persons to casinos where they’re expected to spend more of their money via gambling. The relationship between a bus line and a casino clearly involves liability for the casino.
Victims in such bus wrecks can seek compensation from these sources or their insurers. Casino tour bus accident lawsuits can target the bus driver, the tour bus company, the casino destination, bus manufacturers and drivers of other vehicles.
If a loved one was hurt in a crash, you can engage a bus accident injury lawyer to file a lawsuit against those responsible for the accident. Jim Adler & Associates can provide an accident lawyer to handle such a lawsuit for victims.