Are charter buses safe?

WAAY 31 looked into the safety of the charter bus industry after two Huntsville women were killed during a bus crash in Mississippi.

Posted: Nov 16, 2018 10:42 PM

In the wake of the deadly bus crash in Mississippi that killed two Huntsville women we're doing some digging to find out exactly how safe charter buses are.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, statistics show if you get on to a charter bus here in Huntsville you will be statistically safer than travelling any other way.

Linda Hale and her husband told WAAY 31 the deadly crash in has changed their views on tour bus safety, "I would not get on a tour bus at all now," said Hale.

The Safety Director of Spirit Soach in Huntsville understands why people would say that, "You really cringe when something like that happens, because it reflects on all of us," said Ken Smith.

The charter bus industry is highly regulated for safety by the Federal Government. "DOT [Department of Transportation] comes in and at least once a year and sometimes more often and checks all of our equipment," said Smith.

On top of meeting strict regulations for the safety of the bus itself there are also strict regulations for the drivers as well.

"They're only allowed to drive ten hours total per day. Only allowed so many hours not driving on duty and so forth," said Smith.

In 2016 statistics from the IIHS show deaths involving buses, which includes large trucks, made up just two percent of the total number of deaths on the road. Those stats are the reason Craig Toocheck will continue to ride charter buses following this accident.

"You're much more likely to get in a car crash than you are in a bus, so I feel generally safe overall," said Toocheck.

IISH stats show 75 percent of roadwaty deaths in 2016 were people in cars and pickups, or on motorcycles. Another 18 percent were pedestrians and bicyclists.

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