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FedEx hit with first lawsuit after fatal bus-truck accident

The commercial trucking industry is subject to complex regulations to protect motorists and pedestrians from potentially deadly hazards such as mechanical failure, dangerous loading practices, driver intoxication and driver fatigue. Unfortunately, safety standards are not always met, and often innocent victims pay the price. Commercial truck accidents are all too common throughout the country, including Hawaii.

A FedEx truck that crashed into a bus full of students on April 10 in California has led to a lawsuit that claims the international delivery company has a history of truck fires. A number of witnesses told authorities that the FedEx truck was on fire before hitting the bus, though the California Highway Patrol has yet to say exactly what caused the crash.

The two drivers, three chaperones and five students suffered catastrophic injuries that resulted in their deaths. The $100 million lawsuit against FedEx has been brought by the mother of a 17-year-old student who died in the accident. The student was riding with friends en route to a nearby university when the crash occurred. Teens across the nation regularly make such visits in preparation for college.

The mother's lawsuit claims that improper loading, mechanical defects and driver error have contributed to FedEx truck fires in the past.

After the collision, the bus occupants reportedly had difficulty exiting the vehicle. Many of the students on the bus climbed through windows before the bus and the truck became engulfed in flames. The lawsuit claims that the bus did not have adequate means of escape in the event of a crash. The lawsuit also names as defendants the tour bus owner and the FedEx truck driver's estate.

Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser, "FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash," April 22, 2014

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