Buses are largely considered to be safe vehicles with experienced people behind the wheel who drive for hours each day. Unfortunately, the reality is that bus accidents happen, and they often occur when you least expect them. As reported by USA Today, for example, two band buses were involved in a crash in Aurora because of foggy conditions. 7 News Denver reported that a bus hit and killed a motorcyclist in a mall parking lot in Lakewood while pulling out.
Bus accidents can have many causes, but some common reasons include:
• Driver fatigue: Lack of sleep in general is considered a public health issue and it affects all areas of life, including driving. Being drowsy behind the wheel is a hazard in any vehicle, particularly in a large one such as a bus, and it happens more often than you might think. In a 2009 CDC survey, 4.2 percent of the 147,076 adult participants admitted to dozing off behind the wheel at least once in the past 30 days. While some bus services are now using devices that monitor their drivers, these units are expensive and their use is still not widespread.
• Aggressive driving or speeding: Driving aggressively, like driving fatigue, is a danger to others on the road in every type of vehicle. A bus driver moving aggressively or having “road rage” can quickly lead to disaster because buses are among the largest vehicles on the road. Speeding is also hazardous because buses don’t allow for as much reaction time as a smaller vehicle. Some bus companies use speed limiters or have data recorders installed in their vehicles, but use varies by business.
• Problematic passengers: Bus drivers are responsible for keeping a safe atmosphere. If an unruly passenger is engaging in distracting behavior, it’s the driver’s responsibility to warn the passenger, ask him or her to leave the bus, or contact the police for help.
• Driving under the influence: A bus driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol may not be able to think clearly, focus on his or her surroundings, or react to unexpected events in a timely manner.
• Too many service hours: A bus driver should not exceed the number of work hours in a given span of time allowed per state and federal regulations for his or her type of bus. Overworked drivers might be fatigued and unable to react quickly to changes on the road.
• Poor equipment: A bus company is responsible for maintaining, repairing and evaluating the buses in its fleet regularly. Buses with mechanical faults can be a significant factor in an accident.
• Human error: Bus drivers, despite their experience, still make mistakes. A simple failure to check a blind spot or simply taking a turn too wide can result in a collision with a person or other driver on the road.
• Distracted driving: Distracting driving is driving while doing something that takes your attention away from the road, such as texting, eating, or reading. While it seems unthinkable that a bus driver would text or eat while behind the wheel, it has happened with devastating results. A school bus driver in Tennessee, for example, was texting at the time he crashed his bus, killing a teacher’s aide and two students, according to WBIR News.
What We Do
If you’ve been involved in a bus accident, we’re here to help. At the Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C., we will use our skills and knowledge to move you through your case toward the best possible outcome. Having an experienced bus accident lawyer at your side will help you get the compensation you deserve while allowing you to focus on your recovery.
As a bus accident victim, you might be entitled to lost wages, compensation for loss of life quality, coverage for your medical costs, and recovery of damages for other losses sustained by you and your family as a result of the accident. A bus accident lawyer will handle the insurers and the other party’s legal team for you so you don’t have to fight the battle alone. We’re ready to help you get your life back. Speak to us today by calling 303-331-3415.