In recent months there have been a series of deadly bus crashes in practically every corner of the US. Nine dead in Pendleton, Oregon. One dead and seven injured in Willow Beach, Arizona. One dead and more than two dozen injured in Litchfield, Illinois. Two dead in Miami. Forty-two injured in Boston. All of these tragic bus accidents have been the result of unsafe buses, unsafe bus drivers and less than safety-minded buses companies.
Dangers Lead to Bus Accidents
The causes for most bus accidents can be traced to a number of known and documented safety risks.
A lack of seat belts: In America today, buses carrying passengers on our highways are not required to install seatbelts. Although safety belts have been required in cars for decades, the federal government has yet to introduce a requirement mandating that all buses have a seatbelt for each passenger. There is plenty of evidence (and general agreement) that seat belts save lives.
Structurally weak roofs: According to National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there is a need for standards and guidelines with respect to roof strength and window glazing. These two factors come into play in the unlikely but traumatic event of a roll-over accident. If the bus roof were to cave in during a crash, that would most likely result in severe injuries for the passengers.
Unglazed windows: In 2011, the NSTB recommended that buses needed to have better glazing applied to their windows. The glazing would add to the structural strength of the bus’s outer shell and would help in preventing the passenger areas from being compromised in a crash.
Lack of federal oversight: The federal government has not allocated sufficient resources to overseeing the increasing number of bus companies operating on our roads today. This lack of meaningful oversight has allowed a disturbing number of less than scrupulous bus companies to fail to properly maintain their vehicles and to fail to follow federal safety guidelines pertaining to the transport of people.
As a bus accident and truck accident lawyer, I find the recent safety record of some curbside bus operators shocking. That such bus companies can operate with such impunity, putting ourselves, our neighbors and the public at large at risk is unacceptable.