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What is it about buses that make their blind spots more treacherous than car blind spots?

Since moving to a college town, you’ve realized the convenience and necessity of public bus transportation. Every day, you use a bus to commute to work, get downtown, and avoid the headache of having to park. However, after seeing a recent news article about a bus hitting and killing a local student, you’re beginning to question how safe buses really are.

The article stated that the driver didn’t see the young girl because she was walking in his blind spot. Over the past few years, you’ve actually heard about several bus accidents where blind-spot visibility was blamed. This poses the question: Why are bus blind spots treacherous?

What They Don’t See Will Hurt You

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics, estimate that over 500 pedestrians, passengers, and other vehicle drivers are killed each year as a result of visibility-induced bus collisions. Although accurate statistics on whether blind spots were the actual causes of these accidents is limited, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration took it upon themselves to try and reduce visibility accidents by implementing the “No-Zone” campaign in 1994.

This campaign highlights areas in which pedestrians and vehicles should attempt to avoid. The areas were mapped out according to bus blind spots created by the following three bus design factors that limit driving visibility:

  • Length. The standard length of transit and school buses is around 40 feet. However, bus side mirrors can only visibly capture approximately two-thirds of this length. Therefore, 13 feet of the side of the bus goes unseen by the driver, not to mention up to 30 feet worth of additional space that is obscured next to the bus.
  • Obscured rearview mirror. Although buses have rearview mirrors, they aren’t large enough, nor powerful enough to extend the entire length of the cab. In addition to issues with depth perception, mirror visibility for transit buses is continuously obstructed by standing passengers—making it all but useless for seeing rear traffic.
  • A-Pillar. The pillar that supports the windshield on the driver’s side, along with the side-view mirror, is well-known among bus drivers and trainers to cause severe visibility problems. The pillar has even spawned its own training technique to compensate for the loss of vision: the “rock and roll.” Drivers are encouraged to rock back and forth before turning and changing lanes in order to check the area obscured by the a-pillar

Making Sure You’re Seen and Heard After a Bus Accident

Every bus driver should be well aware of his duties and protocols to compensate for blind spots. However, sometimes accidents still occur and when they do—you could wind up paying a high price.

If you’ve recently been injured in a bus accident, let us help you get back on your feet. Injury costs can be substantial, and treatment can last for years. We don’t want you to have to live with someone else’s mistake. Call now to see how our experience, knowledge, and friendship can help you get the recovery you deserve. We’re waiting to help, so call now!

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David Hart
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