This week 13 passengers on a USA Holiday tour bus were killed, and many injured, early this morning on a highway in California when the USA Holiday tour bus ran into the back of an 18-wheeler semi truck at a speed great enough to cause the bus to travel approximately 15 feet inside the 18-wheeler’s trailer, causing significant damage to the bus. The driver was among one of the fatally injured. Firefighters used ladders to remove the passengers through the windows of the bus.
The tour bus had recently traveled to the Red Earth Casino in Thermal, California, and was returning back to Los Angeles, California when the crash happened early this morning. It has been reported that the driver of the tour bus was one of the company’s owners. The USA Holiday tour bus had inspections performed on the bus in 2014, 2015, and 2016, with no mechanical citations reported. According to news reports, the company also had a satisfactory rating for safety.
At this time the investigation into the crash is still ongoing, therefore officials are unclear as of now whether the driver of the bus was speeding, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or whether he fell asleep behind the wheel while driving.
Tragic stories like this are being reported all too often. Drivers are pushing limits behind the wheel. I recently wrote a blog about another tour bus accident that happened in North Little Rock not too long ago. That tour bus crash also claimed the lives of many innocent victims and injured many others. There were two other fatal tour bus crashes that happened back in 2013, one in California and the other in Massachusetts.
It’s true that many people get lucky when pushing their limits behind the wheel, but there is a large population that aren’t so lucky, leaving victims behind to pick up the pieces of one person’s bad decision. Driving while fatigued or after consuming alcoholic drinks is never a good idea. No one ever expects to be involved in an accident, but obviously they happen every single day, and many of those people are the ones who think ‘that wouldn’t happen to me.’ The physical and emotional effects can last a lifetime for everyone involved, including the innocent victims and their families.
So what can we do to help make our roads safer? Here are a few things that seem obvious, but we don’t always listen to our inner voice of reason. I would encourage you to have a game plan in place just in case you encounter a situation that puts you in a position that could potentially save a life.
1. Don’t drink and drive;
2. Don’t drive when you’re overly tired;
3. If you are with a friend or acquaintance that shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel of a vehicle for whatever reason, offer to drive them or call a cab. Follow through. Don’t have regrets, don’t live with the ‘what-ifs.’
4. If you see a driver on the road that is swerving, crossing the center line, or for whatever reason you think he or she may be impaired or need help, call the non-emergency number at 311 and let a police officer know so they can locate the vehicle and assess the situation. Your call just might save a life.