A tragic accident occurred last week in Queens when a Charter Bus plowed through a stop light at a high rate of speed and collided with an MTA Q20 bus. The collision killed the driver of the Charter bus, as well as a pedestrian and a passenger on the MTA bus, and injured 16 others. Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the accident scene “It’s just shocking to see the scene over there. Hard to compare it to anything I’ve ever seen — the sheer destruction from the impact of the collision.”
In the days since the accident, it has been discovered that the driver of the Charter Bus had been fired from his job as an MTA bus driver in 2015 after he fled the scene of an auto accident and was later convicted of evading arrest and driving under the influence. It was also discovered that not only did the driver of the Charter Bus have a record of unsafe conduct, but the bus owners, Dahlia Charters did as well. Last year a Charter Bus owned by Dahlia overturned on the highway injuring 30 people. Dahlia has also been cited several times for speeding, mechanical, and administrative violations. When compared with other Charter Bus companies, this puts Dahlia in the bottom 20% when ranked on unsafe driving.
Sadly, these types of incidents are far too common. Charter Bus companies regularly put profitability over safety, and the results can be devastating. Our firm has seen firsthand the effects of similar bus accidents on victims and their families, so it is heart breaking to see another one of these senseless tragedies happen, especially when we know they are preventable.