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Critics address safety record of bus company responsible for Turnpike crash

A week after a fatal bus crash on the New Jersey Turnpike involving a bus owned by Super Luxury Tours of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., the head of Washington D.C. based bus company trade association American Bus Companies is saying that authorities should have penalized the company for its poor driving record prior to the accident.

The comments came after the U.S. Department of Transportation said that the bus company built up among the worst safety records in the nation, making it worse than 99.6 other bus companies. The CEO of that American Bus Companies asked why Super Luxury Tours was allowed to continue operating in New Jersey without any action concerning its dismal safety record.

The sentiments expressed by the trade association have also been voiced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who questions why safety rules proposed in 2009 haven't yet been enacted. Lautenberg has requested hearings on the issue of why the Transportation Department hasn't implemented safety rules that were proposed in 2009.

According to the head of American Bus Companies, bus travel is safe overall, and the industry transports 750 million passengers annually. Still, the CEO admitted that bus companies need to constantly improve safety practices. As Senator Lautenberg pointed out, 19 bus passengers die every year in crashes.

Both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Transportation Safety Board are currently investigating the Turnpike accident, along with a recent New York bus accident in which 15 people were killed several days before the Turnpike accident.

Source: Star Ledger, "U.S. group: Authorities should have shut down tour bus company before fatal N.J. Turnpike crash," Tom Haydon, 17 Mar 2011.

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