Accidents involving buses in the United States share 10 common causes, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These causes impact the safety of bus passengers and other non-occupants in New York. To help combat bus accidents, the FMSCA has imposed new penalties for violating safety regulations which include a $25,000 fine for operating without proper authority.
The National Transportation Safety Board issued a study in 2011 finding that the average number of motorcoach accidents was 1,003 per year between 2005 and 2010 in the United States. Thirty-two of these accidents were fatal and resulted in 44 deaths. Another 505 accidents were nonfatal and 467 involved only property damage.
Distracted driving is a risk for all motorists, including bus drivers. Distracted driving includes using mobile devices for texting and talking, eating, drinking, consulting maps or doing paperwork while driving. A lack of driver awareness led to carriers striking pedestrians with bus mirrors. Speeding is also dangerous behavior that led to crashes.
Customers, employers or tour operators often convince drivers to keep an unrealistic schedule. This includes convincing drivers to reach a destination faster or skip overnight hotel stays. Similarly, full or part-time drivers holding multiple jobs do not maintain driving proficiency, report hours that were worked and do not have sufficient rest to drive safely.
Crashes have also involved the improper use of GPS devices that were made for cars. Drivers were not aware of low clearance bridges and underpasses.
Poorly-maintained buses, failing to comply with manufacturer recalls and not making mandated repairs are other common factors. Other maintenance problems include damaged or worn out tires, using improper tires for the vehicle or route or having blocked or non-functioning emergency exits.
Finally, unruly party guests have caused accidents. Unsafe passenger behavior included hanging out doors or out of roof openings.
Bus accident victims may be entitled to damages suffered in an accident caused by the negligence of a bus operator or driver. Prompt advice should be obtained after mass transit accidents to help assure that the just and proper compensation or insurance benefits may be sought.
Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “10 potentially fatal risks for motorcoach operators,” accessed Nov. 23, 2014