Fatal NYC Chinatown tour bus crashes spotlight safety concerns

14:07, March 16, 2011      

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U.S. investigators on Tuesday were probing the cause of another deadly New York City (NYC) Chinatown tour bus crash in the neighboring state of New Jersey, which killed two and injured 41 others.

New Jersey State Police said on Tuesday that a tour bus on its way to Philadelphia from New York Chinatown crashed off the New Jersey turnpike on Monday night. The crash was the second such case in a span of less than three days after a fatal Chinatown tour bus crash in Bronx last Saturday claimed 15 lives.

The tour bus involved in the New Jersey accident, operated by Super Luxury Tours, slammed into a guard rail and a concrete abutment while traveling south on the turnpike in East Brunswick at 9 p.m. Monday. The bus driver was thrown through the front window of the bus and died at the scene. Another passenger died shortly after being taken to the hospital.

The bus will be mechanically inspected by New Jersey State Police experts to determine the cause of the accident. Meanwhile, the New York Sate Police are also looking into whether the driver of the weekend crashed bus fell asleep at the wheel.

The two cases have put a spotlight on the problem of driver fatigue as well as the challenges New York City has faced in regulating tour bus operators. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that these tour bus companies have been involved in numerous accidents and close calls, prompting demands by lawmakers for tighter safety regulation.

U.S. Senator from New York Charles Schumer has called on federal transportation officials to broadly investigate safety regulations that govern the tour bus industry. The New York Daily News quoted New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as saying that "it's a constant battle to try to make sure that they follow safety standards."

Source: Xinhua

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