Since buses and motorcoaches can be massive in both size and weight, they can cause major damage when accidents occur. The speed of the bus or motorcoach, along with specific traffic conditions, can cause significant property damage, serious injuries or loss of life. With an average of 360 million bus passengers each year, bus accidents are frequent occurrences in major city streets and highways.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates three hundred fatal bus crashes each year. However, a recent study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the organization that is charged with improving the safety of bus and motorcoach travel, showed that fatal crashes from bus accidents dropped 31% (319 to 221) from 1999 to 2009; there was a 21% drop from 2007 to 2009 (281 to 221). The study also showed that the 40% of these accidents involved school buses, 35% involved transit buses and 12% involved intercity buses. Injuries as a result of bus accidents were more significant in number. In 2009, there were roughly 20,000 people injured as a result of a bus accident.
Be Sure to Research the Bus Company Before You Buy Your Fare
Another factor in bus accidents, as in truck and tractor-trailer accidents, is the diligence of the bus company in properly maintaining the vehicles and monitoring its employees. Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has instituted a crackdown on low-cost bus travel. Through its safety initiatives, the DOT found several companies, which typically travelled along the east coast corridor, improperly screening drivers for drug and alcohol consumption and not adequately inspecting their vehicles. These companies were also responsible for several deadly accidents in the last few years.
It is important that you research a bus company before you purchase a fare to travel on that company’s bus or rent a motorcoach for a group trip. In some instances, for example on a school bus or transit bus, a passenger does not have the option to choose which carrier to use. But, if you do have the option, it is important to investigate the safety record of the company with whom you wish to travel. The FMCSA’s website provides a checklist of items for consumers to consider and links to check the safety records of the potential company. Please visit our links below to assist you with the navigation to their website.
Our firm has litigated some of the most serious bus accident cases, including the Bluffton Baseball Team’s bus accident. If you or someone you know has been involved in a serious bus or motorcoach accident in Georgia, Finch McCranie, LLP may be able to help you. Please contact us online or call us at (800) 228-9159 to set up a free consultation.