The bus was en route from Charlotte, NC to New York when Kin Yiu Cheung, a driver for Sky Express, Inc., apparently fell asleep and drifted into an embankment, causing the bus to rollover. The roof of the bus collapsed during the accident, which caused the 4 deaths and dozens of injuries.
Investigators later found that Cheung had very few opportunities for sleep the day before, and also found that coffee, energy drinks, and even talking on the phone were not enough to keep him awake during the drive. Federal regulators have tried to enforce laws to keep curbside bus operators safe for passengers. Recent reports have put accident rates for this type of bus operator at nearly 7 times higher than other long-haul bus companies.
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At the time of the accident, the company was in the process of being shut down for violations, but federal regulators had given a 10-day appeal period to the busline to contest their safety rating. The bus line was shut down following the crash and Cheung has admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. He is now facing 4 counts of manslaughter.
Bus companies like Greyhound, Megabus, and curbside bus companies transport as many people every year as domestic airlines. It is essential that regulations regarding driver fatigue be enforced, and that bus companies ensure that their buses are equipped with safety features. Making sure that buses have seatbelts and reinforced roofs is just one of the lessons that can be taken away from the tragic accident in Virginia to help prevent personal injury in the future.