Bus accidents are a serious problem for multiple reasons. First, they typically place multiple people at risk of harm. Buses can carry dozens of people and usually share roads with many other smaller cars. Second, buses are heavy and large—these qualities combine to produce catastrophic results for every person involved in an accident with one.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tracks the number of bus accidents that occur each year in the United States. According to the administration’s most recent report, there were a total of 229 bus accidents and 274 bus crash fatalities in 2017. It also estimates that people suffered approximately 25,000 sustained injuries because of bus crashes in the same year.
Deadly Bus Accidents in the United States
Bus accidents have been steadily declining, with occasional peaks, for the last two decades. However, they are still a significant cause of injury on the highways. This is made evident by examining fatal bus crashes in recent history. Notably, one thing is prevalent throughout these life-altering accidents: the disregard for safety by bus operators or owners.
In 2005, 23 senior citizens being evacuated from Hurrican Rita danger zones were killed when the bus they were on caught fire, trapping them inside. An investigation later determined that the bus had been improperly maintained and its driver had an invalid license.
In 2007, seven people were killed when a bus carrying a university baseball team drove off an overpass. Investigators believed that seatbelts would have saved many lives. The bus, like most of its kind, was not equipped with that safety feature.
In 2008, 27 people were killed in two separate bus crashes. In one, investigators noted that the bus had insufficient safety features. In the other, the bus had an invalid license plate and registration, and the driver was overtired.
In 2011, a driver with a record of 18 suspended licenses caused a bus crash in the Bronx that killed 15 people. This incident led to the shutdown of a chain of unsafe bus companies, yet no bus safety laws were created in response to this incident.
How to Improve Bus Safety
The accidents listed above are a small sample of a large problem on the nation’s highways. Some argue that buses cannot be made any safer. Most experts agree that making three specific safety features mandatory on all buses would save countless lives.
Seat belts keep people in place and are one of the simplest ways to save lives. However, many members associate riding the bus with not using seatbelts; this perception needs to change. When the force of an accident propels bus passengers from their seats, hurtling them into danger, wearing a seatbelt mitigates or prevents injury.
A significant cause of injury in bus accidents is crushing by the actual structure of the bus. Pictures of bus accidents are frequently similar and show a vehicle that is in pieces along the side of the road. If a bus is given stronger support structures, with better pillars between windows and stronger roofs, the bus is less likely to collapse on passengers during an accident.
Researchers have developed a unique glaze for bus windows that prevents the ejection of passengers in the event of an accident. Since being thrown from the vehicle is a significant cause of bus-crash fatalities, making glazed windows a mandatory bus safety feature would save lives.
Bus Safety Requires Driver Training & Screening
In the accidents listed earlier in this article, driver error or recklessness was often the cause. When a company hires drivers, they must ensure that they are qualified to drive a vehicle safely. Drivers must be adequately trained, so they have the knowledge and experience needed to operate their bus safely. Additionally, companies must make sure that drivers do not work under the influence of or alcohol and that they receive an adequate amount of rest.
Bus Maintenance: Simple & Essential for Safety
Finally, bus maintenance is one of the simplest yet often overlooked aspects of bus safety. Bus companies need to invest in maintaining their fleets. Even though bus maintenance can increase operating costs, it prevents predictable accidents from mechanical failure from happening. Anytime a maintenance issue causes a bus accident, the owner of the vehicle is responsible for the injuries and deaths which result from it.
What to Do After a Bus Accident Injury
If you’ve sustained injuries in a bus accident, it’s likely that someone could have prevented your suffering but failed to do so. No one should have to deal with the pressures of medical debt, time lost at work, and other financial struggles caused by bus accidents. If you need help, call Arnold & Itkin.
Our team of bus accident lawyers fights for the compensation of clients. We’ve won billions of dollars for those who need financial compensation after accidents, and are ready to do the same for you. When you call us, we’ll listen to your story and develop a tailored strategy focused on the best possible recovery that you deserve. We never back down, we never accept less than clients deserve, and we will be your aggressive advocate through every step of this process.
Call us today for a free consultation with a member of our team at (888) 493-1629. We never collect a fee unless we win.