DALLAS, TEXAS February 21, 2017 — Bus accident lawyer, Todd Tracy of Dallas, urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to immediately order a nationwide recall of thousands of buses produced by the Champion Bus Company and called on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to reopen its investigation of the 2008 Champion Defender Bus crash that killed four North Central Texas College softball players on September 26, 2014.
An engineering safety inspection of the Champion Bus involved in the deadly crash discovered that:
- Key structural members were missing.
- Other structural members were butchered to fit.
- Structural members were spliced together.
- 80% of the structural welds were defective.
Tracy who represents three of the deceased girls’ families also urged NHTSA to conduct an inspection of other 1999-2008 Champion Defender Buses to if they were built in the same unsafe manner. “
“The inspection revealed that Champion Bus built a Frankenstein vehicle with missing pieces, haphazard changes, jerry-rigged material, and dangerous welds that failed to provide a strong structure that would keep passengers safe”, said Tracy.
An engineering team working for the Tracy Law Firm’s Crash Lab removed the skin on the passenger side of the bus which was not part of the side swipe accident to determine if the 2008 Champion Defender Bus met vehicle safety standards. A report by Null Consulting and newly filed with the Cooke County Clerk in Texas states that the, “Champion Defender bus contains numerous manufacturing defects that rendered the bus defective and in my professional opinion unreasonably dangerous and unsuitable for service.”
Federal transportation safety regulators should act immediately because “the assemblers of this 32-passenger bus forgot to install critical structural members. Champion Bus workers altered the company’s own design drawings by butchering the structure that goes over the wheel well of the bus; the company spliced together structural pieces; and changed tubular material to flimsy c-channel. They also failed to use galvanized steel like they said they did. Eighty-percent of the welds were defective under the American Welding Standard specifications. In my opinion, these assemblers and the Champion Bus company should be investigated for murder because they knew what they were doing would jeopardize lives”, said Tracy.
The Null consulting report also states that the Champion Bus welds did not comply with Automotive Welding Quality Standards, “With this particular bus, the failure to utilize quality control plans and procedures, the lack of weld drawings and failure to utilize quality weld assurance, certification and testing systems, resulted in a bus being manufactured that violated welding industry standards…”
“This bus was a ticking time-bomb waiting to kill and maim anyone on board. If this bus is typical of the deadly and dangerous workmanship of this company, more innocent passengers will die. These buses need to be grounded and inspected to ensure that all these other buses were built according to the design drawings,” said bus accident attorney Todd Tracy.
Champion Bus produces 2700 buses a year and heavily markets their use to educational institutions. A wide variety of Champion Buses shuttle passengers around airports, drive senior citizens to casinos, carry people on scenic tours, and transport our most precious cargo, our children to sporting events and other school activities.
Tracy, a personal injury lawyer who specializes in vehicle crashworthiness, questioned, “How many more unsafe Champion Buses are out there carrying unsuspecting passengers? The NHTSA and NTSB should immediately investigate how Champion Bus failed to follow their own design drawings, changed their design drawings, changed material, altered structure, and destroyed structure. More importantly, our government safety watchdog agencies need to see these structural flaws and defective welds in person.
The FAA can ground entire fleets of aircraft. The NHTSA should do the same and require a safety recall and mandatory safety inspection of every Champion Bus on the road. The owners of these buses and their passengers deserve to know how their lives may be in jeopardy because of missing structure, butchered structure, altered structural design, and deadly defective welds,” said bus accident attorney Todd Tracy.
Case Reference: Cause No. CV16-00080 Cooke County, Texas 235th Judicial District