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Why are deadly motor coach bus accidents so common?

In recent years, California roads and highways have been plagued by some devastating and high-profile bus accidents. Many of these accidents involved commercial motor coach companies offering low-fare trips between cities (and states).

There are certainly reputable and reliable carriers. But overall, the motor coach transportation industry is plagued by companies seeking to make a quick buck however and whenever they can. Sadly, the very low fares some companies are able to offer come at the cost of safety.

Since it first began operating in 2006, the company Megabus has made a name for itself across the United States – primarily by offering incredibly low fares for certain trips. In some cases, passengers can ride one way for as little as $1.

But those low prices may come with hidden costs – and not just in the form of extra fees. Megabus has been associated with several injurious and fatal accidents over the past few years. In 2010, four passengers were killed when a double-decker Megabus struck a railroad overpass in New York State.

In 2014, a rollover accident injured 26 passengers in Indiana. A year later, another Megabus crash resulted in 19 injuries.

And recently, a columnist for the New York Times wrote about his own harrowing experience when the Megabus he was riding in caught fire for inexplicable reasons. Passengers were able to escape uninjured, but nearly all luggage stored in the lower compartments was destroyed when the whole bus became engulfed in flames.

To be sure, Megabus is not the only motor coach company with a bad safety record. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has found it very difficult to regulate this industry overall. Fly-by-night companies may get shut down, only to reopen under different names.

If you ever rely on bus transportation between cities or states, please understand the risks that often hide behind the promise of low fares. Before you buy a ticket from any carrier, take the time to do some online research. A company's safety record should tell you all you need to know.

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