Late this month a California bus accident along Interstate 10 that left approximately a dozen individuals dead and several more wounded made national news. The bus was transporting individuals from a desert casino location. Within hours of the crash, news outlets were describing the crash as one of the deadliest bus crashes in the state’s history. According to preliminary news reports from Fox News and other outlets, the bus was traveling nearly 65 miles per hour (perhaps more) when it struck the rear-end of a tractor-trailer that had slowed to 5 miles per hour. From photographs, the bus and trailer appear to have crushed or collapsed into one another. The investigation into the cause of the crash continues.
Dangers of Bus Accidents
A passenger on a bus might reasonably believe that he or she is safer in the event of a crash than the occupant of a passenger car. There is reason for this belief – busses are heavier and larger than most other vehicles – a collision between a bus and a passenger car is almost always going to do more damage to the passenger car than the bus. Yet, passengers of a bus are at a disadvantage when the bus collides with another commercial vehicle. Passengers do not have restraints, which means the significant “jolt” from a collision can send passengers into the aisles and around the cabin. Passengers may strike their heads or appendages on seats, windows, and other passengers. Not only this, but many busses are like airliners in that bags are permitted to be stored above the seats. In the event of a crash, these bags can come tumbling down on top of passengers and cause head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Finally, passengers may become trapped on a bus that is on fire or leaking toxic substances because of the number of people on the bus and the disproportionately small number of exits.
Causes of Bus Accidents
Any bus accident can be tragic given that the mistake or careless action of one person (the bus driver) can negatively impact the lives of dozens of other people. Officials with the California Highway Patrol indicated that (at the present time, at least) it did not appear as if the bus driver attempted to brake before hitting the tractor-trailer, suggesting that the bus crash in California may have been caused by inattentive or drowsy driving. Although the crash did not happen in Kansas, a similar crash could easily occur given that Kansas has long stretches of flat roads and is a major thoroughfare for busses traveling from east to west and from west to east. Just as may be true in this California incident, a long open road at night can easily dull the senses of the bus driver and result in a catastrophe. When this occurs (again, as is true in the California accident) there may be dozens of deaths and/or serious injuries that result.
Passengers injured in bus crashes may be entitled to recover compensation if a careless bus driver caused an injury accident or if the reckless or careless acts of another person led to the bus crash that caused your injuries. This may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses and losses attributable to the crash. If you or a loved one are injured in a tour bus crash, chartered bus crash, or public transportation bus accident, contact Kansas Bus Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless (800) 734-3771 if you or a loved one have been injured or killed by a distracted driver.