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A recent collision of two tour buses in Times Square has highlighted the potentially dangerous lack of regulation that the industry faces. The tour buses, both of the double-decker, sightseeing variety, collided in the middle of one of the busiest portions of the city. However, neither bus was legally required to report the accident to any licensing board. This is true despite the fact that there are at least five state and local government agencies responsible for monitoring and licensing these tour bus companies. The high-profile nature of the accident has led to calls for stricter regulation and more stringent reporting in cases of tour bus accidents. 

The Accident

The accident that has moved this lack of regulation into the spotlight occurred on August 5th, just before 3:30 in the afternoon. Two tour buses heading in opposite directions crashed into each other at the corner of 47th street and seventh avenue. The accident toppled a traffic light and sent pieces of debris, including shards of glass, flying across the crowded sidewalks. A total of 15 people were injured in the accident, with three having injuries that the police classified as "serious." Of those injured, 14 were bystanders on the street, rather than anyone in either of the buses. The cause of the accident is unclear.

Regulatory Issues

This crash has highlighted the regulatory issues with this industry that have only recently appeared. The crux of the problem stems from the sudden growth of the industry. In the past decade, the number of companies operating sightseeing tours has nearly doubled, going from eight to 15, and the amount of buses on the road has increased by an even greater amount, ballooning from 57 to 263.

The city's regulatory departments have struggled to keep up with this influx of new business. The Consumer Affairs Department, a city agency designed to monitor poor business practices, is in charge of licensing the buses, but many other entities also have a hand in controlling bus regulations. Each entity is designed to monitor areas in which it specializes, but this specialization can lead to regulatory holes. As it stands, the tour bus companies are not required to report accidents to the licensing agency, and the government does not individually track accident statistics for tour bus companies. This leaves the licensing agency unable to consider a company's safety record when it comes time to renew their license, but this accident has led to calls for changes in that practice.

If you or someone you care about was recently injured in a tour bus accident, contact a New York City traffic accident attorney. Our firm is here to help you recover for any injuries you sustained because of the accident.

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