Bus Accident Causes

Buses are big, heavy vehicles that carry serious accident risks. Just like car accidents, there are many causes of bus accidents. However, these crashes are usually more serious due to the sheer size and weight of buses. A typical, fully-loaded bus can weigh about 42,000 pounds. But, an average passenger automobile weighs about 3,000 pounds. Due to this size disparity and the basic laws of physics, any collision between a bus and another vehicle is likely to result in serious, and even fatal, injuries.

Determining the cause of a bus accident is important, as that defines who’s responsible for your damages. Here are some of the common causes of bus accidents.

Bus Company Negligence

One of the top causes of serious bus accidents is bus company negligence. The motor coach industry transports more than 700 million passengers every year in the U.S. However, despite serving a similar number of people as the airline industry, the record-keeping and bus inspection protocols are not nearly as stringent.

This means bus companies often turn a blind eye to the federal regulations, training drivers or keeping their fleets maintained. These bus companies deliberately choose to sacrifice public safety for a bigger bottom line.

In addition, buses require a great deal of upkeep and maintenance to keep them safely operating. Older school buses, motor coaches, and Greyhound buses that lack seat belts and other safety equipment may increase the risk of injury or death from a bus accident. A bus accident could occur due to poor bus maintenance or a defective part that the company has failed to take action in fixing.

Bus Driver Negligence

There are many laws in place that attempt to regulate bus drivers, however many tour or charter bus companies disregard them. For example, the “hours of service” law dictates long a bus driver can be on the road before a break. Other laws regulate bus speed, turning and passing. Drivers may also be negligent because they were texting or making a call on their cell phones. Again, an accident may also be the result of the driver being poorly trained, or just a plain bad driver. But our attorneys always say when a bus driver causes an accident, it’s technically the fault of the bus company who employed and trained that driver.

Bus Driver Fatigue

Negligence can also be due to bus driver fatigue. Fatigue is the top highway killer in the U.S., and it greatly increases the chance of a bus wreck. For example, drivers with obstructive sleep apnea have 2.5 times greater risk of having a highway accident than drivers without sleep apnea. Also, American Trucking Association states that at least 28% of its drivers have problems with sleep apnea; compared to 4% of the general population.These numbers are similar in the bus driving occupation.

Bad Weather

Inclement weather or poor road conditions could cause an accident. These hazards coupled with the bus’s weight and inability to quickly maneuver around situations can cause wrecks. However, the law mandates proper training in these weather conditions. In the training, drivers will learn of proper precuations during bad weather.

Left Turns

Left-turn bus accidents are some of the most common. With regards to left turns, blind spots are really areas behind the left “A” pillar and mirror that are temporarily obstructed to the bus driver. Training allows drivers to lean forward or backward to eliminated any obstructed views. However, if a drive cannot move. This denotes improper vehicle or training from the bus company.

Another Driver

Another driver’s negligence could cause a crash. Most of these are from distracted driving. Regardless, it can cause a serious wreck.

Bus Fires

Bus fires are dangerous. This is especially true to passengers in the back of the bus, since they may be unable to escape. The escape hatches on the bus could also be too small, or fumes can overwhelm the passengers. Since fires typically start in two locations. These are the engine compartment and wheel walls.

Over 60% of all bus fires happen in the engine compartment. However, systematic maintenance can elminate these fires. Dirty engines covered with grease and oily substances from age or leakage can create a ripe condition for fires from even a small spark or the high heat of travel.

Maintenance can also prevent the tire or wheel well fires. Underinflated tires are a significant problem, as radial tires hold their shape even with low air pressure. However, when tires are operated at low air pressure, heat builds up quickly (particularly at highway speeds) and a fire (or shredding of a tire) can result. Most commonly this is due to under inflation of the inside dual tire.

Many cases can come out of a bus accident. Whether you’re a passenger on the bus, in another vehicle, a pedestrian or a bicyclist, you may have a claim again the bus driver, the bus employer or owner of the bus involved in the accident.

Free Consultation

Hurt in a bus accident? Please contact The Michael Brady Lynch Firm. Our lawyers are familiar with protecting passenger rights. We will fight for you and your family to receive the accident settlement that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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