The Toronto-based bus company that owns the bus that was involved in an accident in New Jersey on Saturday was not authorized to operate in the United States, according to reports from a US transport safety agency.
Early on Saturday morning, the bus, which was headed to New York City from Toronto, slid off an offramp in New Jersey. There were no fatalities, but 23 people were injured and a number of passengers were trapped in the wreckage of the bus and had to be removed by emergency services. According to police reports, none of the injuries were considered critical and most of the injured have been discharged from hospital.
The bus was owned by AVM Max 2000 Chartered Bus Services, Inc. and was being chartered by Cynthia’s Bus Tours to carry a group of Seventh Day Adventists from Toronto to a church convention in Brooklyn, New York City.
The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration today confirmed that the owner of the bus, AVM Max 2000, was not authorized to operate in the United States. Records from the transportation department also show that the company had been reported for multiple violations of driver fatigue regulations in the last year and a half. According to the records, a driver for the company was found to have driven for longer that the allowed 11 hours in a day.
According to a spokesperson from the Motor Carrier Safety Administration, AVM Max 2000 does have an adequate safety rating despite the above mentioned violations. However, the company is still not authorized to operate in the United States because they are not covered by US insurance. The violation of their operating privileges will be included in the post-accident investigation that is currently being carried out to determine the cause of the accident and decide on who is liable for the damages to both property and person. According to the bus driver, 51 year old Neville Larmond, another vehicle cut the bus off causing him to swerve and crash the bus. However, state police official Sergeant Adam Grossman, who will be conducting the investigation into the accident, has made it clear that the cause of the incident will only be determined after some time.
Mr. Vimalan Kailasapillai is listed on their website as AVM Max 2000’s CEO. Mr. Kailasapillai has not responded to emails or phone calls from the media as yet, and therefore has not made a comment on the incident.