A recent state audit provides evidence that California’s oversight of limousines, shuttles, charter busses and other passenger carriers is “insufficient to ensure consumer safety” in the aftermath of a deadly limo fire on the San Mateo Bridge. We have written about this fire on several occasions. The general public has been led to believe that the State Agency paid to oversee these conveyances is doing a good job and we don’t agree. When 5 people die in a limo fire that was preventable it becomes clear they are not doing an even acceptable job.
The independent report went on to say that the Public Utilities Commission takes too long to open investigations, resolve complaints, collect fees and then issues fines that are far below what the State laws allow. The audit found that the P.U.C. took 46 days to begin an investigation and 238 days to complete their probe. “The main reason for the deficiencies we found is a lack of effective program leadership” the State Auditor Elaine Howle was quoted as saying.
In one case a State Investigator closed a case and then failed to notify police after being threatened by a weapon during an investigation and in another an investigator did nothing after watching an illegal carrier load 13 people into a vehicle with an 11 person capacity and further allowed 2 children to sit on the laps of other passengers. This was a clear safety and license violation that an investigator chose to do nothing about.
Howle issued a series of recommendations and formal procedures to take complaints and prioritize investigations and deadlines moving forward. In response the Executive Director of the P.U.C Paul Clanon agreed with the recommendations but rejected the suggestion that his agency had failed to ensure public safety. The families of the 5 people that died in that limo fire would surely disagree with Commissioner Clanon’s opinion.
We represent personal injury victims and as a result of the level of responsibility we have it does not ever take us 46 days to begin an investigation. Investigations are by their nature time sensitive. The longer you wait the less information is uncovered. According to the auditor this holds true with P.U.C. investigations as well.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident it is simply not wise to wait. Time matters and the insurance companies know it and leverage that. One of your first calls should be to the Law Office of Guenard & Bozarth. We have investigators ready to uncover and report the truth, often before the P.U.C. or anyone else even gets started! Call us at 888-809-1075 or visit www.gblegal.com We Can Help!
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