Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

Five students, their charter bus driver, three chaperones and the driver of a FedEx semi-truck were all killed yesterday when the FedEx truck crossed the centerline and struck the tour bus head-on on Interstate 5 in Northern California reports The Seattle Times.

Both the bus and FedEx truck burst into flames and not all students were able to escape.

Investigators are trying to determine what caused the FedEx truck to veer out of its lane, cross the center median.

Investigators will attempt to determine if the FedEx driver had fallen asleep, if there was mechanical failure or if a previous collision caused the FedEx driver to lose control.

Investigators say that one other vehicle, a Nissan sedan, was involved in the accident but its occupants injuries were not life threatening.

The students all attended LAUSD schools and were on a college trip to visit Humboldt State University in Northern California when the accident occurred.

The NTSB says that they made proposals to the design of school and charter buses, making it easier for occupants to escape, but those changes have not been implemented.

This may be one of the worst bus accidents in the U.S. in a number of years. In 2013, eight Mexican tourists were killed in California after their bus went off of a mountain road. In December 2012, a charter bus went off of a snow road in Oregon and nine people were killed. In Mary 2011, fifteen passengers were killed when a charter bus were travelling to New York city from a Connecticut casino when it crashed it to a barrier. In 2008, a charter bus of Vietnamese who were returning from a religious pilgrimage were killed when their bus went off a over pass.

Besides deaths, there are thousands of people injured in bus accidents every year. Bus accidents can result in catastrophic and serious injuries to passengers including brain and spinal cord injuries, fractures, internal and soft tissue injuries and burn injuries. Often these injuries require extensive medical treatment.

Bus Accident Causes

Bus accidents can be caused by a variety of reasons, and some having nothing to do with the bus driver or bus company. However, in a lot of bus accidents one can focus at some of the following factors:

  • Driver inexperience
  • Driver fatigue
  • Driver intoxication
  • Bus maintenance
  • Overloaded buses
  • Absence of safety equipment
  • Poor road conditions

If you or a loved one has been injured because of a bus accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can insure your legal rights are protected. Liability for the bus accident must be established to persevere with a claim and an experienced bus accident attorney can assist you.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.
Continue reading

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has shut down Lucky-Star, a bus services that provides transportation between New York and Boston town after the DOT found numerous violations of safety rules.

According to news reports, Lucky Star failed to maintain minimum safety standards including failing to inspect and repair buses. Two separate inspections found 69 mechanical problems in the aging buses that the company owned and operated.

There were also numerous employee violations such as failing to log hours of duty with little oversight by managers. Drivers also were not required to pass alcohol and drug testing.

The feds have been increasingly scrutinizing low-cost bus operators, also shutting down the Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc., because of a pattern of safety violations which would “increase the likelihood of serious injury or death.”

Many bus accidents can be prevented. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) arm of the DOT has a mission to keep bus travel safe, reducing accidents and injuries involving commercial buses. These rules include:

  • Requiring a commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement, having a valid medical certificate and having a drug and alcohol testing program.
  • Limiting the number of hours in a given day and on consecutive days that a bus driver can drive.
  • Mandating periodic safety inspections and repairs.
  • Requiring vehicle insurance with a minimum of $5M in public liability insurance.

Commercial bus travel is relatively a safe way to travel, in part because commercial bus drivers are held to very high standards. In any bus accident involving injuries, an investigation should be made to insure that the bus driver was properly licensed and trained, had a clean driving record and was in good health and was properly supervised.


Washington Bus Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a accident involving a commercial bus, you may be seeking answers to your legal questions. The Farber Law Group, a law firm in the greater Seattle area, is here to answer your questions. We offer a free case consultation.
Continue reading

There have been several high profile bus crashes in the last 60 days that leaves one wondering about the safety of the charter bus industry.

Over the weekend, an out-of-control bus crashed in California killing eight and injuring dozens of others. Many of the injured suffered horrific injuries including a broken neck and fractured vertebra. The bus was carrying a group from Tijuana, Mexico to Big Bear Lake in San Bernadino Mountains for a weekend of skiing.

In Boston, a tour bus that had taken a group of aspiring college students to visit Harvard University crashed into a overpass, injuring 35 people. One person was critically injured in the bus accident and several people are listed in serious condition.

Victims of the late-December Oregon bus accident are still trying to recover from their injuries. In that December 30th bus accident, 9 people were killed and 39 people were injured. Several of the victims and their families have filed a negligence lawsuit against the bus company and its driver in the aftermath of that accident.

Investigation into the Three Bus Accidents

The National Transportation Safety Board is charged with overseeing the investigation into all three accidents.

  • In the California bus accident, investigators will look to determine whether the bus driver was speeding at the time of the accident and whether there was mechanical failure of the brakes. Records indicate that, while the bus company had no accidents in the past two years, that 36% of random inspection found that their buses had brake or tire problems, which is higher than the national average of 21%.
  • In the Massachusetts bus accident, early signs point to driver error as the overpass is marked with NO TRUCKS OR BUSES. The bus driver may have been unfamiliar with the roads and one report said that the driver had looked down at the GPS and when he looked up, he could not avoid hitting the bridge. In Boston, many of the historic roads have low clearances and drivers may not be aware of them if they solely rely on GPS for navigation.
  • In the Oregon bus accident, preliminary investigations by both the U.S. DOT and the Canadian Ministry of Transportation found that the bus driver was driving too fast for prevailing icy road conditions and that he had worked more than the prescribed 70 hour work week.

Is Travel by Bus Safe?

Historically, travel by bus or motorcoach has been a very safe mode of transportation. In the years between 1996-2005 there were 48 fatal bus accidents with approximately 14 people being killed per year.

Federal Safety Inspectors do spot inspections on buses and look for bald tires, bad brakes, leaks in the engine bay and bad drivers.

In the above listed accidents, driver error may have been a contributing factor in each of the accidents. Drivers are required to keep a logbook to make sure they do not driver more hours than is allowable by law. Failure to properly keep a logbook may be a sign of negligence.
Continue reading