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35 Pennsylvania passengers hospitalized in bus crash

A series of passenger bus accidents prompted federal transportation officials last year to come down hard on East Coast carriers that committed safety violations. Despite the effort, serious commercial vehicle accidents continue. The latest accident involved dozens of Pennsylvania students.

Members of Philadelphia's Destined for a Dream Foundation were returning from a Boston trip when the bus they were on collided with a bridge. Authorities said signs were posted everywhere warning tall vehicle drivers of height restrictions.

More than 40 people were aboard the Calvary Coach bus; 35 were hospitalized with injuries. Some passengers were trapped in the ice-cold, heavily-damaged vehicle for more than an hour as rescue crews extracted them. One passenger remains in critical condition. Five victims are in stable or serious condition.

The bus driver was uninjured. He told police that he was unfamiliar with Boston roads and needed to use a GPS system to get around. The GPS may have been what distracted him.

Police issued an over-height citation but may add criminal charges after a complete investigation. Calvary Coach has an unblemished accident record, according to transportation records.

U.S. tour bus crashes during the last few years have sent multiple victims to the hospital and killed more than a few.

Four people died in a 2010 double-decker bus accident in a scenario similar to the Calvary Coach crash; the bus driver did not obey the warning signs for vehicle height clearance.

Another bus accident in late 2011 killed 15 people. Investigators said the driver was on the verge of falling asleep at the wheel when the accident occurred.

Criminal charges have been light in many of the passenger bus crashes. Accident victims and families of passengers who died have the right to claim damages through lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death.

Source: Star Tribune, "After visiting Harvard, dozens in Pa. high school group injured when bus hits overpass," Feb. 4, 2013

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