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On June 24, a bus owned by Sun Lee Bus Co. traveling from NYC Chinatown to Atlantic City, New Jersey smashed into two other vehicles and then a retaining wall, injuring 24 people including the driver.

On impact, the driver went through the windshield before being run over by his bus. He was still in critical condition as of last night; it is not clear whether he was wearing a seat belt. One passenger was also initially listed in critical condition but has since improved.

The crash happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Route 40, known locally as the Black Horse Pike, one of three main entranceways to the nation’s second-largest gambling market.

Police said the bus was unable to stop as it approached traffic stopped at a traffic light at the bottom of a curving bridge over the Great Thorofare, a shallow waterway about a half mile from the beach. It was not immediately clear why the driver was unable to stop.

In addition to those most seriously injured, 22 others were taken to hospitals. Hospital officials would not release information on their injuries, but a hospital spokeswoman said some had been released by late afternoon. Uninjured passengers were taken to the Tropicana Casino and Resort. –AP

New Jersey state inspectors will be investigating the bus to determine if any mechanical failure (brake failure in particular) occurred prior to the accident.

Serious bus accidents like this one happen way too often. We need better regulation of the bus industry, with stronger laws governing bus driver training, mechanical inspections and maintenance of the buses, and the number of hours drivers are allowed to work before resting. If this was a case of brake failure, we need to know why the bus company allowed the brakes to degrade to the point of failure, and why the driver didn’t know the brakes might fail, since he is required by law to inspect the brakes before each trip.

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