Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bus Accidents

As public transportation’s use increases, so does the number of bus accident injuries and deaths.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in 2002 19,000 people were injured in bus accidents principally caused by driver negligence, defective equipment, dangerous roadways and improper maintenance.

In addition to city buses, each weekday 25 million children ride yellow school buses to school related activities as well as religious, athletic and youth events.

Approximately 450,000 school buses are in service travelling 2 million miles per day resulting in 16,000 annual collisions causing 12,000 injuries and 130 deaths per year.

Most full-size school buses lack seat belts exposing children to a greater risk of harm and budgetary pressures cause schools to stretch maintenance schedules, keep vehicles in service for prolonged periods and use lower paid, less experienced drivers.

Bus-related accidents cause brain and spinal cord injuries, sprains, fractures, abrasions, internal and soft tissue injuries, burns and death.

Bus companies’ legal responsibility to their passengers is that of a "common carrier", i.e., an individual, company or a public utility in business of transporting people and/or freight owing a greater duty of safety and protection than an ordinary car.

Despite this higher responsibility to drive with the utmost care and protect passengers and other vehicles sharing the road, buses are often owned or operated by city, county or regional transportation departments which vigorously defend bus accidents.

As a result, immediately investigating a bus accident while the physical evidence is still fresh and inspecting the driver's training history and driving record is crucial.