Unlicensed, unregulated tour bus drivers add a dangerous dimension to Las Vegas tourist entertainment
The city of Las Vegas has taken great strides toward reinventing itself as a tourist destination. Separating itself from the old-time moniker of “Sin City,” the Southern Nevada metropolis has spent the last two decades embracing family-friendly entertainment and a growing range of outdoor recreation activities as supplemental tourist draws that have wider appeal than the classic (cliché?) Las Vegas of debauchery and madness. Although mostly successful, this transformation has not been without its setback. Reports in recent weeks about unlicensed bus driver accidents highlight a latent risk to the city’s new image.
A mental checklist is helpful. First of all, the sour turn the Nevada economy has taken in the last three to four years has had an impact on tourism generally, which in some circles has meant that new, unproven forms of tourist entertainment have been sidelined for other offerings thought to be more reliable revenue sources. Increasingly extreme weather in the last couple of seasons has had an effect not only on garden-variety tourism like outdoor concerts and golf courses but also has added new perils to some niche markets such as aerial tours of Southern Nevada. In a handful of cases from recent years, there have been Las Vegas airplane accidents or near-misses throughout the Southwest.
Investigative reports grabbing headlines in the last few weeks have focused on an increasing worry for those in the Las Vegas tourism industry: the potential for Las Vegas motor vehicle accidents involving commercial buses. These investigations have turned up a number of trends, none of them positive. On the east coast, at least two high-profile Greyhound bus crashes shocked observers who had taken for granted the safety of these high-volume, low-cost discount bus services. Similar crashes occur from time to time in the west as well, in some cases in our very community. A variety of factors are to blame, including aggressive scheduling, driver fatigue, and other problems we see in the context of Nevada tractor-trailer accidents.
Perhaps most startling are revelations that some significant subset of commercial bus drivers are not even licensed. In some cases this means the drivers are not authorized to operate any motor vehicle, but far more often they lack any specialized training in operating large, many-passenger buses that make up the fleet of tour companies and other Las Vegas ground transportation services. Anyone who has ever borrowed a friend’s car knows that it can be daunting to drive an unfamiliar vehicle; in the context of enormous, unwieldy commercial buses, the importance of proper training, testing, and demonstrated competence cannot be overstated. Although it seems absurd that an untrained individual could get behind the wheel of one of these vehicles, our willingness to accept that things are as they should be sometimes prevents us from asking the most fundamental questions. Regulators at the state and federal level seem to be aware of this growing problem but with budgetary concerns at a fevered pitch any hopes for additional regulatory efforts are ill-placed.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury that you believe was related to an unlicensed or improperly trained commercial bus driver, you should contact our Nevada commercial bus injury lawyers today. Strategic decisions regarding civil litigation strategies can be just as important as building the case itself, which makes an experienced legal team all the more necessary. Call us today for a free consultation.