Within the past week there have been two serious bus rollover accidents. The first involved a senior citizen casino-bound tour bus on an interstate in California. This accident caused approximately 50 injuries. The second rollover accident caused approximately 20 injures to 6th grade Missouri school girls travelling to a school campout in northeast Kansas.
The bus accident in California was severe enough that the local emergency response teams were tending to people on green, yellow, and red triage tarps. The color-coded tarps indicate severity of injuries, with red being the most severe. From this bus accident there was a large range from minor to major injuries; a majority of the injuries were minor, but some were moderate and a few suffered major injuries.
According to the U.S. Transportation Department’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the company’s nine busses have not been in any crashes within the past two years.
At this time the local investigative group said, “It’s a little early to determine whether it was driver error.” Regardless of whether the bus accident was caused by driver error or by mechanical failure, the injured parties are legally entitled to damages from those responsible.
In the bus accident in Kansas, several students suffered concussions, one of whom may have a more serious brain injury, University of Kansas Hospital spokeswoman Jill Chadwick told the Kansas City Star. One student may have a possible serious spinal injury also.
Police say, “That the School bus taking the sixth-graders to camp overturned after driver took the exit ramp too fast.” The Warrenville, Ill.-based Durham School Services, which operates the school bus, has not issued a statement explaining the driver’s actions or the company’s role in this bus crash.
People often entrust those they cherish most to the care of bus drivers and bus companies. People count on these companies to transport their elderly parents once they are no longer able to drive themselves. People send their children on buses just as seen in the Kansas school bus crash. Even with this large responsibility, bus crashes still happen and are often caused by a bus company’s negligence in their maintenance or by the negligence of the company’s driver.
A list of potential federal and state safety violations that are committed by bus companies may include a laundry list of things that are often similar to the general maintenance of a person’s vehicle. These include, but are not limited to, tire defects, leaking tires or tires with insufficient tread, motor defects, faulty brakes, leaking fuel lines, broken shock absorbers, driver issues such as fatigue, health certificate violations, traffic citations and moving violations, insurance violations, and weak enforcement of cross-border bus regulations. Houston is the headquarters of the cross-border transportation industry between Mexico and the United States.
According to the Houston Chronicle’s 2008 review of bus inspection records and safety data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety, accidents, deaths, and injuries involving charter buses are more common than one might think. This is more evident now with these two bus crashes happening within a one week period.
If you or someone you love has been injured while on a school bus, Greyhound or charter bus, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling (713) 222-7211 or 713-222-7211.