Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

Thumbnail image for bus on mountain road Earlier this month, a tour bus crashed in a mountainous area in California. At least eight people were reported to have died in this crash and many more were injured. The bus had lost control in difficult terrain. Another recent bus crash in the Boston area caused many injuries. As a Georgia bus accident attorney, these crashes bring to the forefront the importance of knowing the safety record of the bus company with which passengers are traveling. Read on to find out just how to get information on bus safety before traveling.
Early reports after the California bus crash did not reveal the cause. But one thing is known for sure. The tour bus company had a history of citations for vehicle maintenance violations that included brake problems.

The United States’ Department of Transportation records revealed as much. The company’s buses had been removed from service at a higher rate than the national average. In general, when buses are inspected about 20 percent are cited with safety violations. But this company had over 35 percent of federal inspections that resulted in service removal. The Department of Transportation had even placed this company on its safety watch list due to consistent maintenance issues. Despite all of this, reports indicate that the bus company retained a satisfactory safety rating by the federal government and had no crashes for two years prior to the tragic accident.

The bus crash occurred when the bus was traveling in a ski area in Southern California. Apparently, some witnesses saw that the brakes on this bus were smoking prior to the accident. The AP noted that the bus was heading down hill when the driver called out for passengers to call 911, but there was no cell reception in the area. Once help arrived, victims were taken to local hospitals.

Sadly, the bus struck other vehicles on the road in its dangerous path, including jumping lanes and hitting a pick up truck before tossing passengers out and rolling. The driver of that truck sustained critical injuries.

Before you travel on a bus, check the company’s safety record by going to the federal Department of Transportation’s website. There you will find a free bus safety travel app provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that enables the public to “Look Before You Book.” This app will provide safety information about carriers and urges travelers to check these safety records before planning a family or group trip.

Continue reading

Thumbnail image for bus on mountain road A recent Oregon bus accident has again raised the issue of seat belts on buses — something that the federal government has been advocating for many years. As an Atlanta bus accident attorney, I too would like to see this safety measure put in place.

The accident occurred in rural Eastern Oregon where there was said to be some ice on the road. The driver lost control of the bus as it careened through a guard rail and fell 200 feet down an embankment. Nine passengers were killed and 38 others were injured in the crash. It is amazing that more lives were not lost.

Several survivors of this terrible crash have stated that passengers were ejected from the bus. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the crash for such things as road conditions, weather, driver error and other factors.

The issue of seat belts in these situations is a very real safety issue. This is because passengers might survive the initial impact, but be ejected from the vehicle. Such ejections can cause serious and fatal injuries. Seat belts are considered a positive safety measure to avoid ejection in a bus accident, but they are not required on buses in the United States. Many passengers were ejected from the bus through broken windows. This is the subject of great concern for safety officials and has been one of the more common ways that passengers are either killed or injured in these accidents.

The US Department of Transportation has issued a notice of proposed rule making to amend the Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) on occupant crash protection (FMVSS No. 208) that would require lap/shoulder seat belts for each passenger seating position in new motorcoaches.This NPRM also proposes to require a lap/shoulder belt for the motorcoach and large school bus driver’s seating positions, which currently are required to have either a lap or a lap/shoulder belt. There has been a concern that retrofitting all commercial buses with these would be very costly for operators, but that requiring them on new motor coaches would be a major safety improvement.

The bus is owned by a Canadian company with a good safety record and was returning from Las Vegas when the accident happened. Many of the 48 passengers were exchange students from South Korea. Many passengers were injured and taken to various hospitals in the neighboring states.

Due to the fact that the speed of the bus is not known, it is unclear whether driver error is a cause. There are reports that some passengers were concerned about the weather conditions, route safety and speed of the bus. The bus was traveling in a westbound direction and after hitting a center concrete barrier, ended up crossing lanes and plunging down an embankment. Those responding to rescue passengers had to deal with a large hillside to recover the deceased and injured passengers.

There is concern that weather may have played a part in this accident. The location is mountainous and is known for its steep descent and changeable weather conditions. The road had been treated previously with sand and in a sad twist, the sand truck was some distance behind the bus when it crashed, making the sand truck driver and early responder to the scene. The road is sometimes closed due to weather and chains can be required depending on local maintenance crews.

Continue reading

school bus As an Atlanta injury lawyer, I regularly hear from Georgia residents injured in accidents of all kinds. When a child has been injured, parents naturally have a heightened level of emotion and worry. Part of my job representing families of injured children, is to help lift whatever worries I can by handling the legal and medical aspects of what can be tragic situations.

In recent weeks, there have been many accidents around the country involving school buses and injuries to children. Relatively speaking, Georgia’s school buses are the safest way to get kids to school. In fact, Georgia students ride safely to and from school every day.

What can make our kids even safer? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided some great tips for kids and parents, but first a few words about the school bus accidents in the last few weeks.

584005_30246517.jpgThe Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog has often posted on the serious dangers of bus and truck accidents and the major injuries that can result from crashes involving these vehicles. My Atlanta personal injury law practice is dedicated to helping people who have suffered injuries in serious motor vehicle accidents, including those involving large trucks and buses.

Last week in Nebraska, 41 people were taken to the hospital for injuries when a bus crashed into an overturned semitrailer that had drifted and overcorrected, causing it to become imbalanced and overturn. Thankfully, many of these injuries were minor, but others were not. Serious injuries often result from accidents involving trucks and buses, not to mention a collision of two of these large vehicles.

The cause of the accident is under investigation. The accident occurred near Omaha at about 2 a.m. in the morning. The bus was traveling to Denver. A semitrailer had overturned and was in a lane of traffic when a second truck came along and clipped it.

As a Gwinnett County Georgia personal injury lawyer with many years of trial experience representing families and individuals that have been the victims of serious injury, I was particularly saddened by a Carroll County teen’s death in a school bus crash last fall.

And now, the parents of the deceased teen have filed a lawsuit due to the tragic and deadly crash, after the Georgia State Patrol’s report on the accident revealed a problem with the driver, a trainee.

The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reports that the legal action names as defendants the driver, the school system, its former superintendant and the school transportation coordinator. The driver has had problems in the past with his driving and in this accident was recently sentenced at the Carroll County court to probation and received a fine.

The Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog has recently posted on an Atlanta area MARTA bus accident in which a car played a major factor in the crash. We have also posted on the push to implement federal bus safety standards that have been in place for a decade, but are not yet fully implemented.

Last week, a Harmon Brothers Tour bus chartered to carry 52 passengers from the Mill Creek High School in Buford, was traveling on 1-75 in a construction zone when it had to swerve off the highway to avoid a car stopped in its lane. The bus traveled up an embankment and struck an overpass, all to avoid the car.

The car was in the lane in which the bus had been traveling due to a rear-end collision that occurred before the bus came along. The car had been pushed into the lane in which the bus was traveling, after it had been involved in the rear-end collision.

There were 47 Gwinnett County high school students on board the chartered bus when the accident occurred. One bus passenger was airlifted to a hospital in Macon and 19 others were taken to nearby hospitals. The airlifted passenger was said to be in stable condition. The other passengers were taken to the local hospital as a precaution and were not expected to have any serious injuries.

As with so many Atlanta area highway accidents, this colliison occurred in a construction zone at a merge point where three lanes merged into two. Accident and injury can be avoided if drivers slow down in construction areas and allow the merge to occur without trying to rush through the situation.
Continue reading

For many years now, the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendations for bus safety have been ignored with very little action taken by the Department of Transportation or Congress. And just when the federal government is about to start hearings on bus safety, we have a local reminder of the dangers inherent in Atlanta bus accidents.
Earlier this week, 13 passengers were injured when a MARTA bus was hit head on by a vehicle that veered into the wrong lane. The bus was turning into the Indian Creek MARTA station and had been traveling on route 119. As the bus prepared to turn into the station, it was hit. The driver of the car has been charged and the bus driver is said to have no fault in this incident.

The larger concern about bus safety is demonstrated by this MARTA accident. All the passengers that were injured were in the bus, including a three-year old girl who was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. Other injured passengers were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

The national bus safety issues are looming after so many passengers have been killed or injured across the country. We regularly read about Georgia bus accident deaths and injuries. Just last fall, the Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog posted on a tragic accident in which one student was killed and ten other were injured after a bus overturned between on Highway 113. As is often the case in bus accident deaths, the passenger who died had been ejected from the bus.

This spring the NTSB will hold hearings on the safety recommendations that have been in place for over a decade. These include seat belts in buses, safer windows, stronger roofs, recorders to track the time a driver has been driving to avoid fatigue, as well as better driver instruction and licensing controls.

The United States Department of Transportation has taken some small steps for bus safety and drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. As the economy struggles and many are trading in their cars for public transportation the Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog urges that bus safety be taken seriously and that governmental entities responsible for passenger safety standards, implement more safety for all bus riders.

Continue reading

It should have been just another bus ride home to his mom, but it ended in tragedy. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that earlier this week an 8-year old Cartersville boy was struck by a school bus and died on the scene at the Cartersville bus barn. This tragic school bus accident has the local community in shock.

The Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog posted recently about two teens that were struck and killed while walking on a rural Hephzibah road. When tragedy strikes, we question why. How could a young boy be taken in such a tragic accident? A tragedy like this causes all Georgians to think about keeping our loved ones, and especially our children, safe. What seems like a normal day can turn into devastation in the blink of an eye.

In the Cartersville tragedy, the boy rode in a school bus and was dropped off at the bus barn only to be killed after exiting the bus. That bus was driven by a relative. The boy had probably done this many times before, because his mother worked at the bus barn. Tragically, on this day the young boy got off his bus at the barn and then apparently walked around the bus in which he had been riding. The boy was killed by a school bus that was in the area of the bus barn.

Sadly, the school bus driver who was driving the bus that struck and killed the young boy was apparently also a long-term employee with an excellent record. Authorities are investigating the incident, but say charges are unlikely to be filed. Certainly, that driver’s sorrow must also be terribly difficult.

The Cartersville school system is understandably in shock over this tragedy. The assistant superintendant of schools spoke to the AJC about the closely-knit community and their care for one another: ” ‘Words do not fully capture the pain our hearts feel at this time; and we join with [the family] as we grieve together.’ ”
Continue reading

You may have heard about the Georgia school bus crash last week that killed one student when the bus ran off Highway 113 and rolled over. The student, James Rashawn Walker, was ejected through a window and died shortly thereafter.

Since the accident, many interesting discussions have surfaced–one of the most interesting being about how, according to the Georgia State Patrol, the driver involved in the crash lacked proper certification to drive a school bus. Could this lack of certification have been the factor that led to the student, affectionately called Ray-Ray by his classmates, being killed?

Not necessarily, according to Carroll County school officials. They say the bus driver had been through more than the necessary amount of training to be officially certified as a bus driver for the district. In other words, even though it appears he had yet to actually receive certification, school spokespersons insist that the driver was perfectly legal to drive, since he had completed all necessary prerequisites and was at the time driving under a trainer’s supervision.

Of course, the school district absolutely has an interest in protecting itself against a Georgia school bus death lawsuit, so we must take their words with a heavy grain of salt.

And it’s difficult to verify how much training the driver actually did receive–that’s why an official certification is so important. Actually, technically, the driver is supposed to have two certifications: a “P” signifying passenger endorsement, which he did have, and an “S” for school bus endorsement, which he did not.

Meanwhile, as some Georgia parents, school officials and community members call for stricter qualifications for future bus driver trainees, others are calling for something more than 200 school districts across the nation already have: safety belts on school buses.

Continue reading

Big news in the prevention of Georgia car and truck crashes: a new initiative, the Georgia Targeting Aggressive Cars & Trucks Program, began on Monday. The program specifically focuses on reducing the number of crashes, injuries and deaths related to accidents involving collisions of lightweight vehicles with large commercial trucks.

Truck7.jpgTractor-trailers can weigh 50 times more than ordinary consumer vehicles–sometimes up to 40 tons–and this obviously puts the average Joe’s car at a distinct disadvantage in a collision. Large commercial trucks have many safety concerns that ordinary vehicles don’t have, and this means many different safety checks a driver must perform each and every time he or she hits the road.

But what happens while they’re actually on the road? Driving behavior accounts for as much if not more risk for accidents, and commercial truck drivers bear extra responsibility to be careful while driving. To help enforce this, Georgia is having law enforcement officers on I-85 and I-585 specifically look out for aggressive driving behavior such as tailgating, improper lane changes, speeding and failure to signal.

The goal is to significantly cut back on the number of crashes between commercial and lightweight vehicles in Gwinnett and Hall Counties. Between 2007 and 2009, approximately 1,160 crashes were reported, with almost 800 injuries and 25 deaths resulting.

Continue reading

Contact Information