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Are NYC bus tours safe?

Each year, millions from the U.S. and abroad come to see and experience The City That Never Sleeps. In fact, statistics from NYC & Company show that each year for the past seven years, more tourists have visited than the year before. 

With the tourism industry steadily growing, so has the risk of accidents related to the business. One of the most common in NYC is tour bus crashes. What should be a safe sightseeing tour through the boroughs can turn into fatal motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, there are no set statistics for tour bus crashes. Buses that are not part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority do not follow the same regulations on safety and accident reporting. 

Causes of NYC tour bus accidents

Accidents happen due to driver negligence. Improper bus maintenance or defects may sometimes be at fault, but drivers are usually responsible. Companies may not do proper background checks before hiring, leading to the employment of people with dangerous driving records and DUIs. For example, a two-bus crash in September was the fault of a charter bus driver who the MTA had previously fired for leaving the scene of an accident, evading the police and driving while intoxicated. If the behavior does not manifest itself until after the hiring process, drivers may not receive proper discipline from the company. 

In addition, employees may not have the necessary qualifications for the job. They may have acquired their licenses illegally and have poor work ethics. Such dishonesty, inexperience and negligence result in tragedy for the passengers, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Features that contribute to injury

Even if another motorist is at fault for a collision, buses are inherently less safe than other vehicles. They are extremely large with a unique center of gravity and have the strength to plow through structures. They may be overcrowded and lack sufficient safety features. Often, passengers do not use seat belts and other safety measures. The combination of dangerous drivers and features make NYC tour buses at risk of serious accidents.

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