Four years after her mother died in a Texas tour bus accident, a Houston woman is thrilled that the federal government enacted a new, stricter set of tour bus regulations – but she also says she will continue to make certain that bus accidents like her mother’s will never happen again.
In 2008, Yen-Chi Le was driving to work when she heard that a bus carrying Vietnamese festival-goers had crashed on a bridge in Sherman, Texas. She called the police, the hospitals, and then the morgues only to discover that her mother was one of the seventeen Houston residents to die in the bus accident.
An investigation into the accident revealed several shocking facts. The crash took place when an object punctured one of the bus tires, causing the vehicle to lose control and go over a bridge. The tire was improperly installed, however. In addition, although the bus had been inspected the day before, the mechanical errors weren’t discovered, and the inspectors weren’t qualified. On top of that, the bus driver had both alcohol and cocaine metabolites in his system. The bus company also had a troubled past under an old business name.
After the accident took place, Yen-Chi Le became active in pushing for new laws for tour buses. This week, Congress passed the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act, a new set of laws meant to prevent economy tour bus companies from endangering their passengers. The act requires seat belts in all tour buses, anti-ejection glazing on windows, and crush-resistant roofs.