Megabus vehicles in several accidents over past two years

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On Thursday, a Megabus heading from Chicago to Kansas City crashed into a bridge in Illinois, killing one passenger and injuring dozens others.

A string of crashes involving low-fare buses in recent years, including several from the Megabus company, have prompted calls for tougher regulation.

Fifteen people were killed in March 2011 when a World Wide Travel of Greater New York bus swerved off Interstate 95 in New York City and was sliced in two. Two days later, another tour bus drove off the New Jersey Turnpike and struck a bridge support, killing the driver and passenger.

The Megabus company has been involved in several accidents over the last two years, according to federal agencies.

Four passengers were killed in September 2010 when the driver of a double-decker Megabus smashed into a low bridge outside downtown Syracuse, N.Y. The driver was acquitted earlier this year of homicide in the deaths.

Megabus had three crashes in 2011 in which one person died in each wreck, according to federal records. No other details were immediately available.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Megabus vehicles have been in six accidents in the past two years .

Before then, the most recent wreck occurred January of this year in Wisconsin, injuring seven.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show that Megabus did better than the national average on inspections and in safety rankings during the 24-month period that ended Wednesday.

Megabus drivers were flagged in seven out of the last 20 FMCSA inspections for fatigued driving violations. The inspections took place over a two-year period ending June 22, 2012.

The FMCSA gave the company a satisfactory safety rating in February.

In a statement Thursday, the company said it has detailed training and safety systems in place. A spokeswoman stressed the fleet has a number of safety features, and that the company forces drivers to have nine hours off between scheduling duties.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in statements that it was aware of Thursday's Megabus accident and would work with local authorities "to determine if there are safety implications that merit agency action," but that the agency was not investigating the crash.

Megabus said in a statement that it is working with law enforcement authorities to investigate the cause of Thursday's crash.

"Safety remains our number one priority," the statement said. "The thoughts and prayers of our entire staff go out to the passengers involved."

More information from the FMCSA: http://bit.ly/ReNlWZ

The Associated Press Contributed to this Report

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