Rapid Growth, Lack of Regulation Make Party Buses Dangerous
For many, the concept of a party bus is ideal. You can go to an event, consume alcoholic beverages, and not worry about getting behind the wheel. But for an increasing number of mostly young people, party buses have come to pose a great risk of danger. In California alone, more than 20 people have died in party bus accidents over the last five years. A number of states have responded, seeking to regulate party bus operators and the activities that take place on the vehicles.
The concept of a party bus is simple: for a fee, you can rent a bus for a special activity—many parents have rented party buses for their children’s graduation parties. Many party bus operators offer their own package deals. You can sign up to take the bus to a college or professional sporting event, a concert or on a sight-seeing tour. Alcoholic beverages are generally allowed on the bus, so you can tip a few on your way to the bus, have a few more at the game, and not have to get behind the wheel of your car.
Many of the party buses are styled like the British double-deckers, with open seating on the upper level. Unfortunately, a number of fatal accidents have occurred when intoxicated patrons fall off the top. Some have died after striking their heads on a bridge abutment. Others have fallen out of windows.
With some estimates indicating that the number of party buses has doubled in the last five years, legislators are seeking to implement measures to minimize the risk of injury.
- A New York state senator has introduced a bill that would establish standards for the party bus industry. The law would identify what qualifies as a party bus, and require that all party bus operators have a special license. In addition, it would require that a chaperone be present if there are passengers under the age of 21. It would also mandate the installation of an alarm to warn a party bus operator that a door or window was open.
- In the state of Washington , legislation has been proposed that would prohibit the use of double-decker party buses by private operators.
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