Although bus accidents aren’t as common as car accidents, the devastation of a bus collision can be catastrophic. Transit buses—especially inner city buses—can hold up to 85 people at a time. This means that in one collision, you and 84 other people have the chance of becoming injured or killed as opposed to a maximum of five people in a single car.
However, just because buses hold more people than cars do, that doesn’t mean they have a higher risk of fatal accidents...does it?
Common Dangerous Bus Design Flaws
According to the National Transit Database, over 2,000 bus accidents occur within the U.S. every year. In 2013 alone, these accidents killed 300 people, and injured more than 24,000 riders. This data is pretty disturbing, considering how the size and weight of normal buses should be enough to protect their riders. Unfortunately, although the outside shell of a bus is sturdy and protective, these common design flaws can potentially cause you serious harm in an accident:
- Lack of seat belts. Although some states require buses to come equipped with seat belts, many do not—most inner city riders don’t bother with them anyway, even when they’re supplied. However, without a restraint, your risk of severe impact injuries from an accident drastically increase.
- Overcrowding. When a bus becomes crammed with a lot of passengers, not only does it increase the weight and stopping time of the bus, but it also increases driver distractions while decreasing passenger safety—as more riders are forced to stand in the aisle without the protection of a seat.
- Sliding doors. Although labeled as such, bus doors can be dangerous to passengers standing next to them; they can open easily if accidentally pushed upon, and if the driver doesn’t see you leaning against it, he could open the door at a stop and you could easily fall out.
- Height creates stronger impact forces. Although the height of a standard bus is useful to helping distribute any impact force, as well as elevate it’s passengers above a potential collision point, the added height provides additional problems for standing passengers. When you’re forced to stand in the aisle, the force of every bump, turn, and jerk is exponentially heightened, causing you to react as well by jerking, falling, or sometimes being thrown by these forces.
- Weight. The heavier a vehicle is, the harder it is to maneuver, control, and stop. Empty buses can weigh up to 20 tons, and when you cram 8,000 additional pounds worth of passengers inside it, a bus becomes dangerously heavy and dangerously unstable.
- Large blind spots. The longer length of most buses—anywhere from 20 to 40 feet—results in larger blind spots. This unfortunately increases the risk of collisions with unseen objects and vehicles.
What to Do Following a Bus Accident Tragedy
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that nearly 360 million people ride a bus each year. If you’re one of those 360 million, you should not only be aware of your risks, but know who to turn to if you fall victim to an accident. Our extensive knowledge with bus accident claims can help you understand your rights, and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Don’t deny yourself the representation you deserve.
Make sure your family and friends are aware of these bus riding risks to help them stay safe. Use your social media to share this page with them via Facebook, or tell them to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident.