A report by the federal Government Accountability Office says hundreds of trucking and bus companies have remained in operation despite orders to shut down, the Associated Press reported Aug. 3. The report looked at companies ordered to shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for serious violations like using unsafe equipment, failing to test drivers for alcohol and drugs and operating without a license. Investigators believe that at least 20 commercial bus companies and 1,073 trucking companies evaded paying fines and meeting other legal obligations by simply starting a new company using the same contact information and employees. More than 500 were still on the road as of July, the report said.
The study was released about a year after one of the “reincarnated” bus companies was involved in a deadly accident, the AP said. A bus from Iguala BusMex Inc. blew a tire on Aug. 8, 2008, near Sherman, Texas, sending it off the highway and killing 17 people on board. Iguala BusMex was a “new” company still waiting for its federal license — but it was run by Angel de la Torre, owner of Angel Bus Tours Inc., which stopped operating two months earlier after an unsatisfactory federal inspection. The blown tire was a retreaded tire installed on a steering axle in violation of federal law. The number of “reincarnated” trucking and bus companies may be even bigger, the GAO said, because the study looked only at exact matches between addresses and other contact information.
As a Deerfield Beach trucking accident attorney, I am disturbed that it’s so easy for companies with a record of safety violations to remain on the road. Using unsafe equipment and failing to drug-test might not sound like serious problems, but as the Iguala BusMex crash shows, even small safety violations can have deadly consequences when they affect a vehicle weighing many tons more than a passenger car. Trucking companies that send out their drivers with bad brakes or no valid license are setting up the drivers — and everybody around them — for a catastrophic accident. By the time these violations translate into a crash, it’s too late for the innocent people around the trucks, who are left dead or with serious, often permanent, injuries.
Cohn, Smith & Cohn represents victims of serious semi truck (and bus) accidents that were caused by someone else’s bad decisions. That includes bad decisions by trucking companies as well as by the drivers themselves. Our Miami-Dade tractor-trailer accident lawyers know that no lawsuit can reverse the accident or bring back a lost loved one, but we also know that victims of these devastating accidents often find themselves victimized a second time by high medical costs and unscrupulous insurance companies. In a lawsuit, our Davie big rig accident lawyers can help victims recover all of the costs related to the accident as well as compensation for the injuries themselves — compensation that can help them get the care they need and make ends meet while they recover from an injury that was no fault of their own.
If you or someone you love was hit by an 18-wheeler or other large truck in Florida because of a truck driver’s or trucking company’s carelessness, call Cohn, Smith & Cohn right away to learn more about your rights and your case. To learn more at a free consultation, you can contact us online or call (954) 431-8100 today.