Why Are Charter Bus Accidents in the News Lately?
Charter bus accidents seem to have made news headlines a lot over the past few years. In September 2017, a charter bus driver collided with a public bus in Queens, New York, killing himself and two people on board the charter bus and injuring 16 others. In 2007, a charter bus carrying a college baseball team crashed into a fence and plummeted off an overpass, killing seven and injuring 28 people.
These accidents are horrific, and they resonate in the public’s consciousness because they often result in such devastating injuries. Moreover, people want to know why these accidents happen and what can be done to make sure they don’t happen in the future.
While charter bus accidents don’t happen nearly as often as typical car crashes involving standard vehicles, they tend to occur more frequently than bus accidents involving public transport, such as city-owned buses. To understand why charter bus accidents happen, it’s important to be familiar with the most common reasons for charter bus crashes.
Three Types of Buses
Generally, buses can be broken down into three types: charter buses, school buses, and public buses.
Charter Buses – Charter buses are operated by private companies, such as a travel company that operates tours for travelers. For example, if you visit a foreign country, you may choose to book special outings with a charter bus company your travel agent recommends. Because charter buses are owned and operated by private companies, they do their own hiring when it comes to their drivers. Charter buses are typically booked for one long round trip.
School Buses – School buses are hard to miss, as they are almost always yellow and printed with the name of the school district that operates them. Like public buses, school buses are owned by a public entity, such as a school district or county.
Public Buses – Public buses are owned and operated by a public entity, such as a city or local transit authority. Unlike charter buses, public buses tend to drive the same relatively short route every day.
Why Do Charter Bus Accidents Happen?
Charter bus accidents happen for a variety of reasons. One of the first steps in identifying the next steps in your case after a charter bus accident is determining what caused the charter bus accident to occur. In some cases, there are multiple reasons for a charter bus accident.
Negligent Hiring – Charter bus companies are responsible for properly and thoroughly vetting their drivers. When they hire drivers with a history of poor driving, they put their passengers at risk. Unfortunately, bad drivers are one of the leading factors in charter bus accident cases, and investigations often reveal that a charter bus company hired a driver despite knowing the driver had been involved in accidents in the past, or that the driver had been fired by previous employers for negligent driving.
Negligent Maintenance – Like any vehicle, charter buses must be inspected regularly and maintained. Sadly, some charter bus companies skip corners in the interest of making a bigger profit. When a bus crashes because it was improperly maintained, the charter bus company can be held responsible for the crash.
Bus Driver Fatigue – Anyone who has ever sat behind the wheel on a long road trip knows how fatigue can lead you to make mistakes on the road. Even nodding off for a few seconds can cause a catastrophic accident. There have been many recent cases in which a charter bus crashed because the driver was overworked and sleep deprived.
Bus Driver Distractions – Like any other driver, a charter bus driver can become distracted by texts, email, talking on the phone, or even passengers. It’s imperative for charter bus drivers to stay fully alert behind the wheel. Losing focus can cost lives and leave passengers and other motorists with permanent injuries.
Bad Weather – Bad weather can affect charter bus drivers just like any other type of driver. When the weather is dangerous, charter bus drivers often feel pressured to push through it for the sake of reaching their destination on time. Unfortunately, pressure from the charter bus company may compel them to drive in unsafe weather conditions.
Other Motorists – Few drivers like to get caught behind a charter bus. It’s understandable — after all, charter buses are bulky and difficult to see around. However, motorists who make jerky or sudden maneuvers around a charter bus can cause a bus driver to lose control. Other motorists have caused serious charter bus accidents because they were impatient and decided to engage in the negligent driving behavior.
However a charter bus accident happens, it’s important for victims to get the legal and medical help they need. If you have been injured in a charter bus accident, don’t hesitate to get medical treatment, as well as legal advice about the next steps in your case.
Prior results cannot and do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case. Recoveries always depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case, the injuries suffered, damages incurred, and the responsibility of those involved.