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The Hart Law Firm

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You must be overwhelmed with questions after your Dallas car wreck.  Why not get the answers from a Texas board-certified personal injury attorney?

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  • What are the capacity regulations for school and transit buses?

    According to the Public Transportation Fact Book published by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), there are more than 750,000 registered transit buses in the United States. These buses transport over five billion passengers from one destination to another every year. To put this in perspective, this means that buses in the U.S. transport approximately 75% of the world’s population in one year. No wonder you can never find a seat on your daily commute!

    It makes you wonder—with the number of passengers riding buses and the increase in public transportation, how do buses keep their passengers safe when it comes to overcrowding? Are there regulations pertaining to overcrowding?

    Capacity Regulations for Transit and School Buses

    In order to safely transport such a staggering number of passengers, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has placed capacity and weight regulations on both transit and school buses. The following regulations keep the ride comfortable and also prevent accidents caused by overcrowding. The regulations also limit injuries in case of a collision.

    • Seated capacity lettering. All buses should have the maximum number of seats lettered or posted on their exterior paneling.  A bus that has 40 seats must have “40 Seats” lettered on its exterior (If the bus can hold an additional two wheelchairs, the lettering should state “42 Seats”.) School buses are required to have distinct lettering that separately designates child seating, adult seating, standing, and wheelchair capacities.
    • Standing capacity based on aisle width and seat percentage. The recommended maximum capacity for both transit and school buses is determined by the size of the aisle and based on a percentage of each bus’s seating capacity. For example, if the standing capacity is rated at 75%, a bus with 40 seats would allow 30 additional passengers to stand (40 seats x .75 = 30). This percentage is calculated by the specific aisle measurements of each bus.
    • Buses must stay below the Gross Vehicle Weight Rate (GVWR). Drivers should be equipped to determine if the bus is riding too low with the stated number of maximum occupants. If the capacity maximum is too high and goes over the estimated GVWR, the capacity lettering needs to be adjusted.

    Your Safety Shouldn’t Follow a Schedule

    Unfortunately, although these regulations are in place to keep you and your fellow riders safe, they aren’t always enforced. Drivers can’t constantly monitor and count how many people are on board, and most passengers just want to get to their destinations as quickly as possible (even if they’re sitting on someone’s lap). This is why it is important to pay attention to the bus’s maximum capacity, as well as gauge the number of riders already on board, before you step on it. If it is too crowded, don’t risk it.

    Getting to your destination on time on is not worth risking an injury. Instead of putting yourself in danger, simply wait for the next bus. If you’re already on a bus when it becomes overcrowded, judge the situation yourself and determine if you need to get off early for your own protection. You may also want to speak to the driver or the manager of the transportation system if you notice persistent overcrowding.

    Before they board a dangerous situation, make sure your family and friends know the dangers of bus overcrowding and how to determine a bus’s safe capacity. Share this page on your Facebook feed or tell your loved ones to contact us directly to discuss any potential questions or concerns they may have about a recent accident. The consultation is free but the advice and knowledge could wind up saving time, money, and even a life.


  • 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!

    Know someone who could benefit from the above information? Please, feel free to share this page with her via email, Facebook, and Twitter, or recommend it to your friends on Google Plus. You never know who may need the support, or is curious about his risks. Click the media icons to share instantly. 


  • How long do I have to file an injury claim after a bus accident?

    It’s easy to put off thinking about your legal options when you’re already overwhelmed with the business of recovering from your injuries. However, bus accident victims should be aware that time limits do apply, and it’s not always obvious exactly how long you have to make decisions about filing an injury claim.

    Time Is Limited, and Victims May Have to Comply With Several Deadlines

    Although bus accident victims generally have up to two years to file a claim for injuries, it may be necessary to meet other time limits, and those time limits will depend on specific details related to your claim. In some cases, action may even need to be taken within the first month after the accident. If you are at all unsure, it’s important that you consult with an attorney who has experience with bus accident claims and the time limits that apply. If you miss a deadline, it may be impossible to recover compensation for your injuries.

    Problems With Last-Minute Injury Claims for Bus Accidents

    Even if you still have time left to file a claim, waiting until the last minute can have serious consequences. It takes time to prepare to file an injury claim and attempt to negotiate with the insurance representatives, and it may be very difficult to collect evidence to support your claim if you didn’t take steps ahead of time to get the information you need. The fact is, that it’s entirely possible for last-minute claims to simply be too late.

    For more information about victims’ rights, connect with The Hart Law Firm on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus or contact our personal injury team directly by phone or email today.

  • After a bus accident in Texas, can I hold the bus company responsible for my injuries?

    Whether you were a passenger on a tour bus, a school bus, or a rented “party bus,” it’s natural to start looking to the bus company for answers after an accident. As one of many passengers affected by the accident, it seems to make sense to hold the company responsible for what happened while you were under their care. However, don’t be too quick to assign the blame. Bus accidents are often far more complicated than they seem on the surface, and there may be many facets to the fault in the accident.

    Bus companies and the drivers they employ are put under a lot of scrutiny after an accident because they are responsible for safely transporting thousands or hundreds of thousands of people every year. Many times, a negligent driver, or lack of safety precautions on the bus company’s part, are partially responsible for the injuries you sustained. However, even when bus companies do everything right, accidents still happen and passengers can get hurt. In these cases, another driver may be held responsible—or even the company responsible for manufacturing or maintaining the bus.

    Before you take action to recover compensation for your bus accident injuries, speak with an experienced attorney who can thoroughly evaluate the details of your case. With legal help, you will be able to quickly identify any potentially responsible parties and start taking action to protect your rights and get the financial support you need to recover.

    For more information, call or email our team today, or browse our other Frequently Asked Questions.

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