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Party Bus Injury and Death Toll Mounts—Officials Take Action

Unregulated Party Bus Industry Sees Continued Problem with Death and Injury

Party busFor many, a party bus is the perfect solution to an evening out. You can go to an event—a concert or a game—drink as much as you want, even on the bus, and let someone else do the driving. Party buses have also become popular for high school graduation parties and other youth events. But rising injury and death tolls have officials in a number states looking at ways to rein in the practice and make it safer.

The concept of a party bus is simple—you rent a bus to take you from a central pickup point to an event, or just out for a ride. You typically bring whatever you want to bring on the bus. It’s not uncommon for food to be provided and for individuals to bring their own beverages. Many are set up to ferry you from a hotel to an event and back, so that you don’t ever have to get behind the wheel of a car.

The buses are essentially unregulated, though, so it’s not uncommon for patrons to drink too much and make poor decisions. A number of party bus patrons have been injured or killed when they fell out of an open door or window, or fell off the top of an open double-decker bus. In addition, with many younger patrons, horseplay and one-upmanship has often led to death or injury. In California, a 16-year-old high school student died when he struck his head on an overpass after standing up on the upper level of a double-decker bus.

A legislator in California has called for increased regulation, including a limit on bus heights. California already has a law that makes party bus operators and chaperones responsible for ensuring that underage drinking does not take place on party buses. The state of Washington is considering banning double-decker buses for such operations after statistics showed four deaths related to passengers striking highway overpasses.

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