Buses are often a reliable form of transportation for those who cannot drive or do not have access to a motor vehicle. In fact, there are more than 30,000 commercial buses in operation throughout the United States. With public transportation so readily available across the country, more than 360 million bus passengers make their way to different destinations every year. So what makes buses different, and in some ways, more dangerous than other types of motor vehicles? Well, for instance, buses often do not have seat belts. City buses may not always have room for all passenger to be seated. Motor coaches and double-decker buses are far more prone to rollover accidents. This means that drivers must be extra vigilant avoid any sudden or jerky movements with the bus that could send lead to catastrophe.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration defines a bus as any motor vehicle designed to carry more than eight people, including the driver. Crashes are considered fatal for any accident where one or more people are killed within 30 days of the accident. The fatality does not have to occur at the scene of the accident and can include anyone involved in the accident. Therefore, pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as the occupants of passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses, can all be victims. Crashes are considered non-fatal when one or more persons have relatively milder injuries, with little risk of death.
Bus collisions can often result in serious injury or death, according to many bus accident lawyers. Contributing factors can involve driver negligence, inadequate safety systems, dangerous roads, weather conditions, defective products and improper maintenance. Bus are similar to injuries sustained in many traffic accidents. Injuries can consist of:
- brain injuries
- brain damage
- spinal cord injuries
- internal soft tissue injuries and
- burn injuries
School buses can also pose an even bigger risk for children. An average of 23.5 million elementary and middle school children ride school buses every day in the United States. Therefore, our dubbed “yellow limousines” are a special cause for alarm when it comes to the safety of children. Due to the size of a school bus, an accident or collision involving these types of vehicles can cause serious injuries just like other bus accidents. Due to the lack of restraint systems and seat belts, 12,000 of American children are injured each year in bus accidents. Although injuries are generally minor, some accidents have caused fatal injuries, killing an average of 11 children per year.
No matter the size, color, or function of a bus, it’s important to understand the unique approach to safety for bigger vehicles. Not every bus driver is trained specifically for the vehicle they drive, and it’s important to implement proper laws and regulations for both the safety of drivers and passengers.