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.