Class action threat over horror bus crash

The father of one of the 10 victims of the Hunter Valley bus crash plans to lead a class action lawsuit over the tragedy as he fights for industry reform.

Photo: AAP/Darren Pateman

Photo: AAP/Darren Pateman

Ten people were killed when the bus they were travelling in rolled in the New South Wales Hunter Valley on June 11.

Another 25 people were injured in the incident, which took place late at night as guests were being driven home from a wedding reception.

Adam Bray, who lost his 29-year-old son Zac in the crash, said he had been spurred to take action to improve bus safety, in particular the issue of seatbelts.

Bray recently met with NSW Premier Chris Minns, the state’s transport minister and the head of NSW buses about his campaign to make seatbelts mandatory on buses.

“I have never shed so many tears with total strangers in my life but the empathy was phenomenal. The commitment was extraordinary,” he said.

A website is being created but in the meantime, a Facebook page called Stop Bus Tragedies has been set up so people can sign a petition to improve laws around bus safety.

“If you jump on there, there is a petition to sign. A lot to do, item one is seatbelts with seatbelt monitoring for the driver so everyone is buckled up. We do it on a plane and car, do it on a bus,” said Bray.

Bray has been reading through federal law regarding the chain of responsibility for the incident and wants the Director of Public Prosecutions to upgrade some charges to manslaughter.

He’s also flagged a class action lawsuit against the bus company, Linq Buslines, to address the broader issue of responsibility for the crash.

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“The areas in there are actually some of the things we’ve been talking to (the NSW) government about, in terms of driver training, driver psychometrics – you don’t just pop anyone behind the steering wheel of a bus with 37, 57 lives, one life on board,” he said.

“It’s the bus company. And then, even broader than that, it’s the industry,” he said.

Bray has met with industry representatives in recent weeks and says he was given what he branded excuses.

“It’s profit over safety,” he added.

The pain of losing his son is still raw.

“The realisation that your life is scarred and will be forever surrounded by trauma and grief is hard,” Bray said.

“You think you’re going OK and then there are triggers which set you off.”

The bus driver, Brett Button, remains before the courts facing 62 charges.


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