Learn How to Protect Yourself After a Bus Accident
Although bus travel is not as popular as passenger car travel, over 241 million person-trips took place on all charter and tour buses in 2009. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there is more safety for bus passengers and drivers when accidents happen. Between 2005 and 2010, the average number of bus accidents annually was around 1,000, and the fatality rate was 45 per 100,000 accidents compared to 251 per 100,000 car accidents.
In 2012, however, a study published by the Journal of Safety Research noted that buses are not safer than cars. The researches explained, “While bus accidents comprise a relatively small share of the total accidents (0.6%) in the United States, the number of bus accidents per million passenger miles (3.04) is comparable to the number of car accidents per million driven miles (3.21).”
Regardless of the statistics, passengers who are injured in bus accidents are often more seriously injured than car crash victims. Many buses do not have seat belts. The combination of a lack of seat belts with the weight of a 20-ton vehicle can be deadly.
If you have been injured, or a family member has been injured or killed from a bus accident, call The Dixon Injury Firm today for a FREE assessment of your case. Our staff is available 24/7 at 855-40-CRASH.
Federal Bus Regulations
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, is the federal agency responsible for bus safety throughout the U.S. The FMCSA classifies most buses as commercial motor vehicles, making their companies and drivers subject to numerous additional safety rules. These rules govern various aspects of driver operation and management that all bus drivers must abide by, such as:
- Maximum Driving Times
- Regular Bus Maintenance
- Record Maintenance and Retention
- Post Accident Procedures
- Drug Testing
- Medical Fitness to Drive
- Driver Qualifications
Section 395.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states that no bus company shall require a driver to operate a bus for more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty, or for any time period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. These safety measures are designed to reduce driver fatigue from too many hours of driving. Despite the numerous safety rules, drivers and companies continue to falsify driver’s logs and lie in order to drive more than allowed, placing all drivers on the roadways at unnecessary risk.
The entire list of federal rules and regulations applicable to bus companies and their drivers is far too large to reproduce on this site. The FMCSA website provides more details on the federal rules which govern bus safety. In addition, the National Transportation Safety Board promptly investigates most bus crashes.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Common causes of bus accidents are nearly identical to those causing other vehicle accidents and include:
- Driver distraction such as texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driver inexperience
- Poor road conditions
- Vehicle handling problems
- Equipment defects
Some common causes of bus accidents that specifically affect buses include:
- Driving through urban locations with smaller areas for maneuvering
- Weight distribution problems that affect stability
- The structure of the vehicle and lack of passenger protection (i.e. no seat belts)
Though a bus driver is responsible for the safety of his or her passengers during transit, so too is the bus company. Some companies fail to maintain their buses or do not train their drivers adequately, and both can lead to serious bus crashes that result in injuries and death.
Large Bus Companies in the United States
Some of the largest bus companies that are owned and operated in the United States include:
• Greyhound Lines
• Coach USA
• Concord Coach Lines
• Trailways Transportation System
Traveling by bus can be an inexpensive way to travel throughout the United States. Buses can be eco-friendly and tech-friendly. Some companies offer tickets for one dollar; others offer luxury seating, which can be more attractive than air travel.
While you might save on gas money and the headache of going through airport security, some major bus accidents have occurred that may cause you to think twice about booking a bus ticket.
In April 2015, two band tour buses were involved in a chain-reaction crash on Highway 70 in Denver during foggy conditions. Twelve people were injured during the crash and the driver had to be cut out of the tour bus. The driver was seriously injured, while the rest of the injured were taken to nearby hospitals with moderate injuries. One of the band members was required to have hand surgery and the band’s tour has been put on hold indefinitely.
In February 2013, a tour bus crashed on a narrow mountain road in California, killing eight and injuring more than 30 passengers. Some passengers were ejected from the bus while others were trapped inside. The crash was so bad that rescue workers could not immediately identify how many were killed. The crash involved the bus, a truck, and a passenger car, but all of the fatalities came from the bus. All 38 passengers on the bus were either injured or killed in the accident. The bus driver lost control of the vehicle while going down the mountain and rolled over the truck, crushing it. Some of the injured included children.
What Should I Do After A Bus Crash?
If you are involved in a bus crash, the first thing you should do is seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. By having your injuries evaluated by medical staff, you ensure they are properly treated. After a crash, you do not need to speak to insurance representatives or sign anything before you speak to an attorney. More often than not, insurance companies want to have you sign documents and provide a recorded statement. The insurance company may strongly advise you to speak to them, but refusing to do so will not hurt your case.
A qualified bus accident attorney will help you navigate the legal system in order to preserve your rights under the law. When a person is in a bus crash, expenses can fall on the victim. Medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses can add up quickly. You have a right to recover for any injuries caused by the negligence of a bus driver or bus company. Don’t delay speaking to an attorney. The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury victims is two years.
Illinois Bus Accident Lawyer
The National Trial Lawyers Association recognizes our lawyers for our dedication to injury victims. We will immediately go to work to protect your bus accident case and preserve all evidence. We understand that holding these bus companies responsible for their negligent and reckless conduct is the only way to protect your financial future and help keep other drivers safe from future harm.
Give us a call today to see how we can help you. If your injuries prevent you from coming to us, we are happy to travel to you. Call today for a FREE consultation, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. 855-40-CRASH (toll-free).