American roads are filled with tour buses, municipal transit buses, coach buses, school buses, airport buses, intercity buses, private buses, common carrier buses, government buses, and more, as these large motor vehicles travel over 28 billion miles each year. Unfortunately, bus accidents are everyday occurrences due to the inherent risks of driving long distances and taking longer to start and stop due to their size, shape, and weight.
Buses are designed to carry large numbers of people or heavy cargo from one place to the next. But because of their size, they can cause serious injuries when involved in accidents. Making them even more complex, numerous parties may be held responsible, including bus owners, drivers, insurance companies, and drivers of other vehicles involved. There are several common types of bus accidents, so drivers, motorcycle riders, pedestrians, and roadway workers alike need to watch out for signs of danger.
Bus Accident Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, more than 63,000 bus accidents occur every year, causing approximately 14,000 injuries and over 320 deaths. And, across 10 years, 12 percent of all fatal bus crashes involved intercity buses, 40 percent involved school buses, and 35 percent involved transit buses. In one of those years alone, over 27,000 bus crash injuries were reported. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 183 bus crashes occur every day – or over 67,000 bus accidents every year.
Common Types of Bus Accidents
Some types of buses are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than other types. School buses and transit buses are most likely to be involved in deadly collisions. The most common types of bus accidents include:
- Bus Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrian accidents that involve larger vehicles like buses have an increased fatality risk when compared to roadway accidents involving smaller vehicles. Since all types of buses interact with pedestrians regularly, they risk being involved in pedestrian accidents every single day.
- School Bus Accidents: The United States uses over 450,000 school buses which transport over 25 million students every day. Most children involved in school bus crashes are between the ages of five and 13 years old. The majority of killed in bus collisions are not bus passengers, with only 10 percent of victims of all school bus fatalities being children and adults riding on the bus at the time of the collision.
- Bus Products Liability Accidents: Bus accidents can be caused by or made worse by a design defect or manufacturing defect in the bus or one of its component parts. These can include b brake defects, electrical problems, roof failures, and more.
- Public Transit Bus Accidents: The Houston Metro Bus lines are a significant component of our city’s transportation system. On an average weekday, more than 175,000 people ride the bus. Unfortunately, however, Houston METRO transit operators can and often are negligent in their operation of our local buses.
- Freight Bus Accidents: Freight buses are mostly used to transport cargo, but sometimes people also ride on board. While these large commercial vehicles are designed to carry heavy loads, even the strongest bus has its limit. Overloaded freight buses can be difficult to control and stop, which can lead to serious bus wrecks.
- Private, Tour, or Charter Bus Accidents: In the U.S., more than 29,000 buses are used for charters, tours, and other special operations. Often, a private company won’t properly maintain a charter bus and/or will employ drivers who are not properly licensed to drive a bus, which can result in serious accidents.
- Greyhound Bus Accidents: Almost 25 million passengers ride on Greyhound buses every year; and, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Greyhound buses were involved in hundreds of accidents over the past few years that have caused injuries and deaths.
Causes of Bus Accidents
While buses are often safe due to required adherence to state and federal safety regulations designed to increase passenger safety, preventable bus crashes occur every year as a result of driver error. Texas has the third most fatal bus crashes of any state in the country, after New York and California. The most common causes of bus accidents include:
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Bad weather
- Blind spots
- Bus fire
- Defective equipment
- Driver fatigue, distraction, or error
- Drivers driving under the influence
- Dangerous roads
- Defective or faulty components
- Disregarding traffic safety rules
- Faulty tires
- Hazardous road conditions
- Inadequate bus maintenance
- Insufficient bus driver training
- Lack of bus driving experience
- Malfunctioning brakes
- Mechanical failure
- Exceso de velocidad
- Weight distribution problems that cause bus instability
Potential Defendants: Who Is Responsible for a Bus Accident?
Any personal injury case involving a commercial vehicle can come with complex liability issues. One of the most important things your bus accident lawyer will do is to determine which party or parties are at fault for causing your injuries and other damages. Some of the potential defendants that should be investigated include:
- Bus companies
- Bus component part manufacturers
- Bus driver
- Bus maintenance crews
- Bus operator
- Bus stop property owners
- Bus supervisor
- Municipalities operating public transportation, whether state, county, or city
- Tire manufacturers
- Vehicle manufacturers
Adame Garza: Houston Lawyers for Bus Accidents
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a bus accident near Houston, you should consult an experienced bus accident lawyer. All types of buses are involved in crashes, so their owners and operators have teams that specialize in handling the resulting claims. You should also have someone on your side with experience successfully handling motor vehicle accident cases. We can help.