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Tour buses come under scrutiny after fatal bus crashes

On Monday night, a tour bus traveling from New York's Chinatown to Philadelphia crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike, killing two people and injuring 40 more. The New Jersey accident came just three days after a fatal tour bus crash in the Bronx that took the lives of 15 people as they traveled from a casino in Connecticut to Chinatown.

After the deadly accidents, government officials began to take a closer look at these and similar discount tour bus companies that transport millions of Americans in New Jersey and across the country. Following this investigation, the U.S. Department of Transportation released a report stating that the tour bus company involved in the most recent accident has one of the worst driver safety records of any such company in the country.

The accident occurred in Middlesex County at approximately 9 p.m. on Monday night. According to New Jersey State Police, the bus was traveling southbound on the Turnpike's outer roadway when it suddenly went out of control, veering wildly through lanes of traffic, striking an overpass, and finally coming to rest in a dirt embankment. The 50-year-old bus driver traveled 15 feet through the windshield and was pronounced dead at the scene, and a 20-year-old passenger was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died of head injuries.

The tour bus was operated by a company called Super Luxury Tours, which specialized in trips between East Coast cities at discount prices. In the past two years, according to the USDOT, the company's 16 drivers have been involved in four accidents, have been cited for speeding six times and for failure to obey traffic signals three times. Because of these incidents, the company's safety record is worse than 99.6 percent of all other bus companies in the U.S.

The Bronx accident involved a tour bus operated by bus company World Wide Tours.

If you or a family member has been injured in a bus or other accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Tour bus company in fatal N.J. Turnpike crash has among worst U.S. driver safety records", 16 March 2011

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