Tour Bus Accident Near Big Bear

Tragic news out of San Bernardino County.  A horrific tour bus accident that has already claimed the lives of 8 people, and injured over 30 people on California Highway 38, a road my family and I travel often to visit the Big Bear Lake area.  

As reported in LA Times, the bus driver (chartered by InterBus Tours & Charters) allegedly lost control of the vehicle near the town of Yucaipa as he descended down the mountain.  The bus passengers were returning from a day trip to the mountain town.  Other vehicles in this deadly motor vehicle accident included a small Saturn sedan, and an oncoming Ford pickup truck.  

The LA Times article speculates there may have been mechanical issues with the bus, that may have played a role in the accident, as "Federal transportation records show that the bus involved in the crash had been cited as recently as October, when inspectors found a damaged windshield and noted that there was no properly installed fire extinguisher. In July, they found a faulty axle and brakes. An inspection in May revealed loose or missing wheel fasteners."

A more recent LA Times report states that, indeed, "Maintenance citations of the tour buses owned by Scapadas Magicas of National City were numerous and serious enough that the company was placed on a federal watch list that flagged its buses for increased roadside inspections. Bald tires, defective or missing axle parts, and insufficient brake linings were among 59 maintenance violations inspectors found on the firm's buses in the last two years, U.S. Department of Transportation safety records show."

My heart goes out to those involved in this gruesome crash, the victims and their families and friends.  


While many accidents cannot be prevented, there are (as in this case) many injury accidents that have foreseeable dangers.  Please consider checking the safety records of the bus fleet company if you plan on traveling on a tour bus.  These following links can help you do your own research:

USDT's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

About.com's Senior Travel Guide 


New California Laws 2013

See what new laws take effect in 2013.

Specifically, the new laws for drivers in California include the following (taken from http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/01/5085605/new-california-laws.html):

Red-light cameras 
SB 1303 tightens restrictions on the use of red-light traffic cameras but bolsters their legal underpinnings by stating that evidence from them is not hearsay. (Former Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) 
Hands-free texting 
AB 1536 allows drivers to dictate, send or listen to text messages with a hands-free device. (Former Assemblyman Jeff Miller, R-Corona) 
Motorcycle checkpoints 
AB 1047 prohibits local governments from conducting motorcycle-only checkpoints. (Former Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries, R-Lake Elsinore) 
Driverless vehicles 
SB 1298 permits testing autonomous vehicles – cars that drive themselves – on public roads subject to safety certification and the presence of a human in case of an emergency. (Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles) 
Carpool lane exceptions 
AB 2405 exempts certain hybrid and other clean-fuel vehicles from paying a toll to use HOT carpool lanes accepting single-occupant vehicles. (Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills)

Hopefully the new laws will help prevent motor vehicle accidents and improve the safety of drivers on our roads.   Especially the hands-free texting law, AB 1536.  While it is best to leave the mobile phone in the backseat or trunk to prevent the distraction altogether, allowing vocal dictation will hopefully prevent people from using their fingers to text.  Again, it is safest to not text and drive.



Theread more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/01/5085605/new-california-laws.html#storylink=cpy