Bus Accidents Happen More Often Than You Think
In 2016, there were 264 fatalities and over 35,000 people injured in bus accidents across the country. The majority of fatal bus accidents involved a school bus or transit bus.
Montebello Bus Lines is the third largest municipal bus system in Los Angeles County and regularly transports over 25,000 passengers a day. The Montebello Unified School District’s school buses transport over 4,500 student passengers a day. The Hayes Law Firm knows that while bus transportation is statistically safer than many other modes of transportation, when bus accidents do happen, injuries are often severe and sometimes deadly.
Understanding California Seat Belt Law
California law provides that all school buses must be equipped with seat belts by the year 2035. This means that by 2035 all school age children will be wearing seat belts on the bus, but between now and then, a lot of Montebello school children will still be riding buses without seat belts.
California law also requires that transit and other bus passengers wear seat belts when they are available and they face fines if they are caught not using available seat belts. Unfortunately, not all buses are equipped with seat belts though, and that leaves bus passengers with no restraints if the bus they are riding on is involved in an accident.
Common Bus Accident Causes
Some common causes of bus accidents include the following:
- Driving a bus is very different than driving a typical passenger vehicle and drivers are required to have special training and certificates. Poor driver training can lead to handling errors and accidents.
- Driver that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Medical condition that causes the bus driver to lose consciousness or otherwise unable to control the bus.
- Fatigued driver.
- Distracted driving due to smartphone use, passenger disruptions, or other distractions. An overcrowded bus or lack of supervision on school bus can lead to bus accidents.
- The bus industry is regulated at the state and federal level and those regulations include maintenance requirements. Violating those regulations with poor bus maintenance can lead to accidents.
- Hiring a driver who is not fit to be a bus driver due to drug use, criminal record, or driving history.
- Poor weather conditions may cause an accident, especially when the bus driver or another driver sharing the road is not driving appropriately for the weather conditions present.
- Dangerous road conditions including poorly maintained roads, unmarked construction, and lack of warning of dangers ahead.
As mentioned above, most fatal accidents involve either a school bus (86 fatal accidents 2016) or a transit bus (93 fatal accidents in 2016), but only 40 of the 2016 fatalities were bus occupants. This means that out of 264 fatalities, 224 of those fatally injured were outside of the bus at the time of the accident as pedestrians, bicyclists, or passengers of other vehicles.
To Learn More, Call Today
Liable parties in a bus accident may include the bus driver, driver of another vehicle, a bus company, school district, or other government entity. If you have been injured in a bus accident, contact a bus accident attorney at The Hayes Law Firm to schedule a consultation.