While owning and operating a personal vehicle is common in Washington State, some residents rely on public transportation to get around. Whether it is to commute to work, go on a day trip, head to school or go site seeing, transit buses and coach buses are frequently used to get numerous passengers to various destinations. While it is a convenient way to get around, it is also a mode of transportation that has its risks. If a bus driver is not operating a bus safely or are upholding his or her duty to drive the bus safely, this could result in a bus accident.
What safety concern is causing bus accidents? Much like commercial truck drivers, bus drivers also travel long distances. This means that he or she is behind the wheel of a vehicle for an extended period of time. This can cause a driver to get drowsy overtime, especially if they are tasked to drive well into the night. Fatigued driving is a serious condition on the roadway, and it is one that the National Transportation Safety Board seeks to reduce.
Based on current statistics, there are 976,191 registered buses on U.S. highways. Large passenger buses, which are buses that transport nine or more passengers, were involved in 227 fatal crashes in 2016. This resulted in 264 fatalities occurring. These fatal bus crashes includes those that involved school buses, motor coach buses, transit buses, van based buses and other types of buses.
Fatigue is a major issue among any type of driver. In fact, it was found that getting five or less hours of sleep a night can cause a four times higher crash risk. Thus, bus drivers are expected to get enough sleep before driving, taking plenty of breaks to refresh during a shift. Be able to manage customers’ expectations when it comes to meeting their schedule. A driver should not skip breaks. Finally, medications should be checked to ensure that they will not make the driver sleepy. Not complying with any of these could result in a serious bus accident.
Those harmed in a bus accident likely seek answers. When a fatigued bus driver is to blame, an injured passenger might be able to hold the bus driver accountable. A personal injury action could assist with applying liability and recovering compensation for losses and damages.