There are times when getting on a bus can endanger a person’s life depending on the circumstances of that day’s travel. Although most people would gladly put their lives in the hands of an experienced bus driver, these people are as human as the rest of us.
Buses are a common means of transportation in metropolitan areas of New York and New Jersey surrounding Manhattan. As travelers in these areas may know, heavy traffic can be one of the many catalysts of an accident. In the State of New Jersey, a bus is considered a common carrier and the driver of the bus must protect their passengers and act responsibly at all times.
What Causes Bus Accidents?
One of the many causes of bus accidents is negligence by the bus companies themselves. The motor coach industry transports more than 700 million passengers every year in the U.S. However, even though buses serve as many people as the airline industry does, the record-keeping and bus inspection protocols are somehow not nearly as straight. This means that bus companies often ignore federal regulations, don’t provide enough training for their drivers, and also don’t keep their fleets maintained.
Buses require a great deal of upkeep and maintenance to keep them safely operating. Older school buses, motor coaches, and Greyhound buses that lack seat belts and other safety equipment may increase the risk of an accident.
Bus Driver Fatigue
Although bus drivers are sometimes directly responsible for accidents due to texting or making calls on their cell phones, an overlooked element of bus accidents is bus driver fatigue.
Fatigue, and fatigue caused by sleep apnea, is the top highway killer in the U.S. Drivers with obstructive sleep apnea have 2.5 times greater risk of having a highway accident than drivers without sleep apnea. The American Trucking Association states that at least 28% of its drivers have problems with sleep apnea, compared to 4% of the general population. The numbers are assumedly similar to bus drivers.
Causes of a bus accident can result from negligent driving, faulty maintenance, dangerous roads, defective auto parts, or even bad weather conditions.
In rare cases, a bus accident could be caused by inclement weather or poor road conditions. Hazardous weather coupled with the bus’s weight and inability to quickly maneuver around situations can cause wrecks.
Bus fires can also be very dangerous. Passengers at the back of the bus may not be able to escape, and escape hatches might be too small. Fumes can overcome the passengers before they can exit.
Typically, bus fires occur in two locations: the engine compartment, which is the cause of about 60% of all bus fires, and tires and wheel wells.
Engine compartment fires can typically be prevented by careful, systemic maintenance as dirty engines covered with grease and oily substances from age or leakage create a ripe condition for fires from even a small spark or the high heat of travel.
For tire and wheel fires, underinflated tires are a significant problem, as radial tires hold their shape even with low air pressure. Even when tires are operated at low air pressure, heat builds up quickly (particularly at highway speeds) and a fire can result. Most commonly this is due to underinflation of the inside dual tire.
Traffic Lawyers to the Rescue
The Ellis Law team has been helping bus accident and other auto accident victims for the past twenty years. No matter where you have been injured, our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you settle your case and obtain the compensation you need for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Get a good traffic attorney at your side. Call us today at 888-ELLIS-LAW.