Learn How to Protect Yourself After a Bus Accident
Bus accidents are responsible for some of the most devastating crashes on roadways throughout the United States. The fact that buses carry a large number of people, coupled with their size and speed of travel, make even minor bus accidents potentially deadly. Bus companies are also notorious for performing inadequate driver background checks, on the job training and forcing employees to drive while tired. Whether an attempt to save money by avoiding necessary safety protocol, or simply careless management by the bus company administration, these mistakes are responsible for the unnecessary loss of life.
Whether injured while a passenger on a bus, or another driver involved in a bus crash while sharing the road with these massive vehicles, bus accident victims are entitled to reimbursement for all of their harms and losses. Following a bus accident, it is important an investigation into the circumstances of the crash occur immediately.
Bus Accident Injury Statistics and Oversight
A study conducted by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that over a recent 10 year period 302,000 people were injured in bus accidents in the United States. In addition, there are estimated to be in excess of 850,000 registered buses traveling U.S. roads every year.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 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
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, most bus crashes are promptly investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Common Causes of Bus Accidents
Uncovering the cause of a bus accident is the first step in holding the company responsible for their actions. Often, it is both the company and driver who are at fault for the crash. While there are countless combinations of factors that contribute to bus crashes, some of the most common causes are as follows:
- Driver Fatigue
- Aggressive Driving
- Driver Error
- Poor Bus Maintenance (i.e. worn tires, bad brakes, etc.)
- Driver Cell Phone Use
- Lack of Adequate Safety Measures
Bus Driver Fatigue Results in Countless Crashes
Whether a bus driver is being paid by the mile, trip, or hour, bus drivers often have some incentive to reach their destination as soon as possible. The FMCSA has recognized these dangerous practices and created maximum driving times for those drivers operating passenger-carrying vehicles. However, companies often encourage their drivers to drive in excess of the mandated hours in an attempt to increase revenue.
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.
Large Bus Companies in the U.S.
Some of the largest bus companies operating in the United States Include:
- Coach USA
- Concord Coach Lines
What Should I Do After a Bus Crash?
Following a bus crash, you should immediately seek medical care for your injuries. Seeking medical care will ensure your injuries are properly treated and nothing is overlooked. Following a crash, there is no need to speak to any insurance company or sign anything. Often, the insurance company will pressure you into signing documents and providing a recorded statement. Despite what they tell you, refusing to speak to them will not hurt your case. However, signing the wrong document can prevent your ability to seek damages for your injuries.
After you have received medical treatment, you need to make sure an investigation is conducted into the facts of the crash. Buses often have data recorders on board that contain vital data from the bus accident, such as driver speed, braking data, stopping distances, and other mechanical and system information. This information needs to be downloaded immediately. In addition, it is crucial that the vehicle, driver logs and company documentation is preserved for inspection. Lost evidence can prevent your full recovery for your injuries and allow the bus company to escape liability.
What Sets us Apart from Other Bus Accident Lawyers?
Our aggressive injury lawyers are recognized as Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association 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. (314) 409-7060 or 855-40-CRASH (toll-free).
We are here to serve.