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  • California Bus Accident Facts

    California Bus Accident Facts

Buses are thought to be the safest mode of mass transportation besides flying. And bus drivers are held to a higher standard of care than common carriers. Despite a decline in California residents’ post-pandemic mobility, the state remains the most populous in the United States, with approximately 39.24 million people. With such a substantial population, it is no surprise that urban dwellers rely heavily on California’s public transportation systems.

Buses serve as an affordable alternative to driving and contribute to reducing air pollution, thus fostering a safer environment for the state’s inhabitants. Buses also help transport children for school-related activities. Hence, it is essential to acknowledge that buses can also pose risks. Being aware of the frequency of bus accidents in California can help safeguard yourself and your loved ones on the roads. At the outset, most bus crashes will require immediate medical attention. So if you just crashed, get to the hospital and call our Los Angeles bus accident attorneys when you are medically stabilized.

Frequency of Bus Accidents in California

Bus accidents occur more frequently than we tend to realize. Despite the impact of COVID-19, which reduced mobility, there were still numerous reported incidents of bus accidents. According to Statista, there were 100,828 registered buses in California in 2020. Within that same year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recorded a total of 176 fatalities resulting from bus crashes. Of these fatalities, 131 were associated with school buses and transit buses. Although the figures decreased from the previous year (261 in 2019), the statistics remain alarming.

[Analysis] Bus Accident Statistics in the United States

Buses play a vital role in the United States, transporting many children to and from school and providing transportation for millions of people annually. It is expected that passengers, drivers, and family members will have a safe journey. However, bus accidents can have devastating consequences, even though they account for only one percent of the yearly fatalities. In contrast, fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles are significantly higher than those involving buses.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles far exceed those involving buses. While bus accidents constitute a relatively small percentage of overall fatalities, the impact of these accidents can be profound. The consequences of a bus accident are often dramatic, affecting the lives of numerous individuals.

It is crucial to prioritize safety and implement measures to prevent bus accidents, given their potential for serious harm. By improving safety standards and implementing effective regulations, the transportation industry can work towards reducing bus accidents and minimizing their impact on individuals and communities.

How Often Do Buses Crash?

Bus accidents occur at an average rate of 695,000 in the United States, based on data from 2012. These accidents have significantly impacted the individuals involved, with nearly 145,000 people losing their lives in these crashes. Despite the increasing number of bus accidents, there has been a decline in the number of fatalities. From 2001 to 2008, fatal bus crashes remained relatively stable, while injuries resulting from these accidents increased by 15%.

In 2000, there were 323 reported deaths, and the numbers have been lower in recent years, particularly from 2017 to 2018. However, when it comes to accidents resulting in injuries, the numbers have seen an increase from 12,000 in 2000 to 15,000 in 2018. These statistics highlight the need for continued efforts to enhance safety measures and reduce the frequency and severity of bus accidents in the United States.

What are the Major Causes of Bus Accidents Per Statistics?

The impact of bus crashes is explored in a variety of studies. These studies did not end here. Buses crash less frequently than other vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles. The effect is greater during these events because of the number of occupants affected. The causes and consequences of bus accidents can vary significantly.

According to the National Safety Council, between 2011 and 2020, 70% of deaths in school bus crashes involved occupants of other vehicles, while pedestrians accounted for 16% of the fatalities. Distracted driving by the bus driver or pedestrians engaging in jaywalking are among the primary causes of pedestrian accidents. Knowing how bus accidents occur is crucial, regardless of whether you are a pedestrian or a driver.

The research shows that several factors cause accidents. Among them is:

One example of how injuries can occur is when a motorist abruptly stops their vehicle to avoid a hazardous situation. In such cases, if the driver’s body collides with the bus, it can result in injuries. The lack of seat belts and other safety features commonly found in cars can contribute to the severity of injuries in bus accidents. The causes of bus accidents can vary, but some of the most common factors include:

Driver Fatigue

Drowsy driving kills. Fatigued bus drivers can experience reduced alertness and slower reaction times, increasing the risk of accidents.

Distracted Driving

Distractions, such as cellphone use or other activities, can divert the driver’s attention from the road and lead to accidents.

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive behaviors by bus drivers or other motorists, such as excessive speeding or reckless maneuvers, can result in accidents.

Poor Bus Conditions

Faulty brakes, inadequate maintenance, or other mechanical issues can contribute to accidents.

Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions like rain, sleet, or snow can make driving more challenging and increase the risk of accidents.

Road Hazards

Poor road conditions are a significant problem, especially in California. Hazards such as potholes, construction zones, or debris on the road can pose dangers for buses and other vehicles.

Drunk Driving

Driving under the influence and other risky behaviors like smoking marijuana can ruin motor function and lead to severe injuries or death.

Failure to Obey the Speed Limit

Speeding means lower reaction times and more crash-related, significant injuries, including severe trauma leading to death.

Addressing these common causes of bus accidents and taking appropriate measures to prevent them is essential. Promoting driver safety, ensuring regular bus maintenance, and implementing effective training programs can contribute to reducing the risk of accidents and resulting injuries.

How many people are killed or injured by buses each year?

Between 1999 and 2019, over 600,000 fatalities occurred in bus accidents. It is important to note that most of those killed are not bus passengers. Only around 10% of the fatalities were passengers on the bus, while the remaining individuals who lost their lives were passengers in other vehicles involved in the accident or pedestrians. These statistics emphasize the broader impact of bus accidents on road safety and highlight the need for comprehensive measures to prevent such incidents and protect all road users. Sadly, bus collisions per a million passenger miles were 3.04% when the study was published.

Car vs. Bus Crash Statistics

According to the study, bus trips are generally slower and less safe than car trips. While bus accidents constitute a relatively small portion of all crashes (approximately 0.6% of accidents), the total collision rates per million passenger miles for buses (around 3.04) are comparable to the collision rates for cars per million miles (approximately 3.31). Although buses may appear safer due to their slower speed and larger size, they can still be considered dangerous compared to regular automobiles. Recognizing the potential risks and prioritizing safety measures for buses and cars on the road is essential.

Collisions with Other Vehicles

Collisions between buses and other vehicles can have devastating consequences. In one tragic incident in Glenn County, northern California, a collision between a school bus and a FedEx truck resulted in the loss of 10 lives. The truck, which was carrying approximately 40 students, struck the bus, leading to a destructive explosion. The intense flames engulfed the buses and vehicles involved, leaving survivors with a harrowing experience as they escaped through door-opening windows after the bus exploded.

While some passengers managed to escape, they were aware that others remained trapped inside, adding to the distressing nature of the incident. This incident serves as a reminder of the seriousness and potential dangers that can arise from collisions between buses and other vehicles, emphasizing the importance of road safety and accident prevention measures.

Shuttle Bus

Shuttle buses are a common sight in larger airports and transport passengers between different locations, such as terminals, parking lots, or nearby hotels. These buses often operate on specific routes and make multiple stops to pick up or drop off passengers. Shuttle buses play a crucial role in facilitating transportation within airport premises, providing convenient and efficient transit options for travelers. They help ensure passengers’ smooth and organized movement, enhancing the overall airport experience.

School Bus Accidents and Statistics

School transportation-related crashes in California have been a cause for concern, as the state has witnessed more such incidents than other states. According to statistics obtained by the National Safety Council (NSC) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the accident death rate for school buses reached as high as 118 deaths last year. It is important to note that NHTSA considers any bus used for school transportation, regardless of its body design, as a school bus.

Although school buses are generally considered a safe mode of transportation for students in America, school bus occupants often suffer horrific injuries during school bus-related crashes when school bus accidents occur. However, when accidents do happen, they often involve incidents like children boarding or alighting from the bus. Students’ safety during these critical moments is a priority for schools and transportation authorities. Efforts are made to establish and enforce safety protocols to minimize the risk of accidents and ensure the well-being of students while traveling on school buses.

School-going children often ride buses in the Golden State. California has made significant efforts to prioritize the safety and efficiency of school bus transportation. School bus driver training for school trips requires a vigorous licensing and testing process. Statistics indicate that the safety level on school buses is approximately eight times higher than that of cars. However, despite these efforts, injuries related to school bus accidents continue to be reported in the state.

Fatalities and School Buses

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 117 fatal school bus collisions were reported across the United States in 2018. It is important to note that the NHTSA’s definition of school-bus-related injuries includes accidents involving automobiles that either cause or contribute to the event. While the report does not specify the number of incidents in California specifically, it highlights the need to address and prevent school bus accidents nationwide.

The safety of children being transported on school buses remains a priority, and measures are continuously taken to improve safety protocols and minimize accidents. The aim is to ensure students have a secure and protected environment while traveling on school buses.

Tour Buses

Tour buses are typically charter buses. They also known as open-top buses or tour buses, are specifically designed to transport tourists to various tourist destinations and provide them with an enjoyable sightseeing experience. These buses come in different variations, with some featuring an open roof and others having a half roof.

The design of these buses allows passengers to have unobstructed views of the surrounding attractions as they travel from one destination to another. Tour buses often operate on designated routes that cover popular tourist spots, providing visitors with a convenient and informative way to explore and learn about a city or region’s landmarks, history, and culture. We will update our bus accident statistics from time to time as well.

Common Injuries Resulting From Bus Accidents

Injuries from bus accidents can significantly impact individuals involved, including bus occupants, pedestrians, and others affected by the accident. Unlike many passenger cars, buses typically do not feature seat belts, which can increase the risk of injury during a collision. Even a minor impact can lead to severe harm to bus occupants.

Spinal Cord and Head Injuries

Bus crashes can result in severe injuries, particularly spinal cord and head injuries leading to permanent paralysis. Due to the absence of seat belts in most buses, passengers may experience significant impact forces during a collision, leading to head and spinal trauma.

In the event of a bus crash, individuals can be at risk of hitting their heads on the interior surfaces of the bus, such as seats or windows. The forceful impact can cause severe head injuries, including traumatic brain damage. Head trauma can have long-lasting effects, resulting in cognitive impairments, physical disabilities, or permanent brain damage.

Spinal injuries are also common in bus accidents. The abrupt jolts and violent movements during a crash can cause damage to the spinal cord, resulting in partial or complete paralysis. Victims of spinal cord injuries often face significant challenges in their daily lives and may require ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and support.

Addressing the risk of head and spinal injuries in bus accidents is crucial to implementing safety measures and improving bus design. Installing seat belts in buses, particularly for high-risk seating areas, can help mitigate the impact forces and reduce the severity of head and spinal injuries. Additionally, promoting awareness and providing proper training for bus drivers and passengers on safety protocols during emergencies can contribute to preventing and minimizing the risk of these devastating injuries in bus accidents.

Fractured or Broken Bones

It is common to have injured or weakened skeletal structures when buses injure victims. When a bus driver slaps on the emergency brakes and turns over, passengers will likely get fractures. There can even be minor dislocations or severe fractures requiring special treatment. Occasionally fractured bones can cause punctured lungs or liver lacerations and cause permanent disability. If you seek compensation, extensive treatment will be needed to prove causation and damages.

Cuts & Lacerations

Cuts and lacerations are common injuries that can occur during bus accidents. The interior of buses often includes sharp poles, benches, and glass sash windows, which can become hazardous during a collision. When a vehicle collides with the bus or experiences a sudden impact, passengers may be thrown or hit against these objects, leading to lacerations, internal hemorrhaging, excessive blood loss, or permanent scarring.

Lacerations can cause catastrophic injuries to the tissues and potentially affect blood vessels. Depending on the severity and location of the laceration, there is a risk of excessive bleeding and damage to underlying structures. The torn tissues can also make individuals more susceptible to infections if not properly cleaned and treated. Unreported or untreated infections can result in severe complications and prolonged healing time.

Additionally, lacerations can leave permanent scars, especially if they are deep or not appropriately cared for during healing. Scarring can have both physical and psychological impacts on individuals.

In severe cases, serious lacerations can result in fatalities, particularly if vital organs or major blood vessels are affected.

Implementing safety measures to minimize the risk of cuts and lacerations during bus accidents is essential. This can include using materials in the bus interior that are less likely to cause injuries, such as softer surfaces or protective coverings for sharp objects. Regular inspections and maintenance of buses to identify and address potential hazards can also contribute to passenger safety. Additionally, prompt medical attention and proper wound care are essential for reducing the risk of infection and promoting optimal healing for individuals who sustain lacerations in bus accidents.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Other Internal Injuries

Unlike passengers inside the bus, who may have some level of protection, cyclists, and pedestrians are more vulnerable to the impact of a collision due to the lack of structural protection.

Internal injuries can occur when the body absorbs the full force of the impact. Common internal injuries from bus accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians include kidney damage and pulmonary punctures. The kidneys, located in the lower back area, can be susceptible to trauma when struck by a bus or involved in a collision. Blunt force trauma to the abdomen or back can lead to kidney injuries, ranging from minor contusions to more severe damage or even kidney failure.

Pulmonary punctures refer to lung injuries, which can occur when a significant impact forces ribs or other sharp objects to penetrate the chest wall. This can result in collapsed lungs or punctured lung tissue, leading to difficulties in breathing and potentially life-threatening complications.

Prompt and proper medical attention is crucial for individuals who suffer internal injuries in bus accidents. Internal injuries can be deceptive, and symptoms may not be immediately apparent. Without timely medical intervention, internal injuries can worsen and lead to complications, including internal bleeding, organ failure, or death.

Preventing bus accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians requires a multi-faceted approach. It involves promoting awareness and education on sharing the road, implementing appropriate infrastructure for cyclist and pedestrian safety, and ensuring bus drivers receive training on defensive driving techniques and attentiveness to vulnerable road users. Additionally, prompt emergency response and access to quality medical care following an accident are essential for maximizing the chances of survival and minimizing the long-term impact of internal injuries on victims.

Fatal Bus Accidents by State

A bus accident can have devastating consequences, and the statistics on fatal bus crashes by state provide insights into the magnitude of these incidents. In recent years, New York has seen more bus accident fatalities than other states. One possible reason for this is the challenge of navigating the busy streets of New York, which may increase the risk of a fatal crash.

One of the notable vehicle accidents involving a bus occurred in New York in 2011. The facts relate that a World Wide Tours bus crashed on a highway, resulting in the tragic loss of fifteen lives. The bus was reportedly traveling at high speed when it slipped off the highway and collided with a metal sign, which caused severe damage and resulted in fatalities among the passengers seated in that area.

Another significant bus collision in the Bronx in 2012 is considered one of the most fatal accidents in bus history. The specific details and circumstances of this collision were not provided, but it is recognized as a tragic event that resulted in multiple fatalities.

These incidents underscore the importance of prioritizing road safety and implementing measures to prevent bus accidents. Enhancing driver training and adherence to safety regulations, improving road infrastructure, promoting awareness of defensive driving techniques, and ensuring proper maintenance of buses are all crucial in reducing fatal bus crashes. Additionally, continuous evaluation and enhancement of safety protocols and emergency response systems can help minimize the impact of such accidents and improve passenger safety.

It is essential to learn from these tragic events and work towards creating safer transportation systems to protect the lives of bus passengers and other road users.

When a large bus collides with a passenger car, it can crush everyone inside like tin foil. If you have been injured in a car accident involving a city bus in California, you can pursue legal action against the city. However, there are several factors to consider in these catastrophic traffic accidents.

City buses are considered municipal vehicles, which means you can file a claim against the city for the accident. However, it’s essential to be aware of the Westfall Act, which grants federal employees, including city bus drivers, absolute immunity from tort claims related to government employment. This means that challenging wrongful acts committed by a bus drivers within the scope of their employment can be challenging.

Additionally, when filing a claim against the government, the timeframe for submitting the claim is typically shorter than claims against individuals. In California, the usual timeframe for filing a personal injury claim against a government entity is six months, whereas the timeframe for claims against individuals is three years.

To navigate through this complex process and ensure your rights are protected, it is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney, such as those at Ehline Law. They can provide the necessary legal expertise and support to help you navigate the legal system and pursue your claim effectively. Consulting with a skilled attorney can alleviate the anxiety and challenges associated with the time-sensitive nature of filing a claim against a government entity.

To support your claim, remember to gather all relevant evidence, such as accident reports, medical records, and witness statements. An attorney can review your case, assess the strength of your claim, and guide you through the legal steps to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

It’s essential to consult with a legal professional specializing in personal injury law to ensure you receive accurate and up-to-date advice based on the specific details of your case.

Potentially Liable Parties in a Bus Accident

Bus accidents can involve multiple defendants who may be held liable for the incident. Determining fault in a bus accident can be complex due to various factors.

Here are some potential parties who could be held liable:

Bus Company

The company that owns or operates the bus may be held liable if they fail to maintain the bus properly, adequately train their drivers, or implement safety protocols. A charter bus may also be held liable for the actions of its employees, including the bus driver. The bus company is responsible for hiring qualified and competent drivers, providing proper training, and ensuring the maintenance and safety of their vehicles.

Bus Driver

The bus driver may be held responsible if their negligence, such as distracted driving, fatigue, or reckless behavior, contributed to the accident. Hence, school bus drivers and municipal and private party charter bus drivers may be held individually liable for crashes involving intercity buses and tour bus excursions (even cruise ship shore excursion bus accident cases.)

Driver Supervisors

Suppose it can be shown that a driver’s supervisor was aware of any issues with the driver’s performance or behavior but failed to take appropriate action during the operation of these huge, lumbering commercial vehicles for hire. In that case, they may be held liable for negligence as well as the bus companies they work for.

Other Negligent Drivers

If another driver’s actions caused or contributed to the accident, they may also be liable. This includes drivers of other vehicles involved in the collision.

Bus Manufacturer or Bus Maintenance Company

If a defect in the bus or inadequate maintenance contributed to the accident, the manufacturer or maintenance company may be held responsible for the resulting damages. A manufacturer or the company responsible for maintaining or repairing the bus may be held liable for negligence in maintaining or repairing the vehicle.

Government entities

Government entities may sometimes be held liable if the accident was caused by a road defect, insufficient signage, or other hazardous conditions they were responsible for maintaining.

Determining liability in a bus accident requires a thorough investigation of the incident’s circumstances. It is essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in bus accidents. Our charismatic, award-winning team can assess the facts of your case, gather evidence, and determine the parties who may be held liable for your injuries and damages.

Pure Comparative Negligence Issues

In some jurisdictions, comparative negligence laws may be in place. This means that if the accident victim is found partially at fault for the collision, their compensation may be reduced proportionally. However, the ability to claim compensation from other liable parties may still exist, depending on the specific circumstances.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and determine who should be liable for the damages. They can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Proving Liability in Bus Crashes

to receive compensation in a bus crash case, you typically need to prove the negligence of one or more parties involved in the incident. Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm or injury to another person.

Here are some critical steps involved in proving liability in bus crash cases:

  • Gathering evidence: It is essential to collect evidence supporting your negligence claim. This may include photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, police reports, video footage (if available), and any other relevant documentation.
  • Establishing duty of care: You must show that the party you are holding liable had a legal duty of care towards you. For example, the bus driver has a duty to operate the bus safely and follow traffic laws, while the bus company has a duty to maintain their vehicles properly.
  • Demonstrating breach of duty: You need to demonstrate that the party responsible for the accident breached their duty of care. This could involve showing that the bus driver was speeding, distracted, fatigued, or violated other traffic regulations.
  • Proving causation: It must be established that the negligence of the party being held liable directly caused or significantly contributed to the accident and resulting injuries. This requires linking their actions or omissions to the harm suffered.
  • Documenting damages: You should gather medical records, bills, and other relevant documents to prove the extent of your injuries and the resulting damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other losses you have incurred.
  • Expert testimony: In some cases, expert witnesses may be necessary to provide specialized knowledge or opinions regarding specific aspects of the case, such as accident reconstruction or vehicle maintenance issues.
  • Statute of Limitations: The time to bring a lawsuit or government claim against a defendant is restricted by the claims and civil statute of limitations. It would be best if you spoke to a lawyer immediately, or you risk losing everything.

It is important to consult a skilled personal injury attorney with experience with bus crash cases. They can guide you through the legal process, help you gather the necessary evidence, and build a strong case to establish liability and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Finding a Bus Accident Lawyer in California or Texas

Were you injured due to someone else’s negligence? Perhaps someone you love suffered fatal crash consequences while riding a bus. These are not regular vehicles. These are commercial vehicles that transport people in large groups. These are large machines, more akin to large trucks. When you are aware of the frequency of bus accidents and safety research in California, it becomes crucial to have a dependable bus accident lawyer ready to assist you in times of need. We can help pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone else who wants to bring a claim. With over 30 years of combined experience in resolving cases for clients, Ehline Law possesses the expertise you require.

Whether you seek a Los Angeles bus accident lawyer or a San Francisco bus accident lawyer, Ehline Law provides support in various locations to help you secure a favorable outcome. Having recovered over $150 million in over 3,000 cases, Ehline Law is a trustworthy personal injury law firm to handle your bus accident injury lawsuits. Contact us to learn more about your options to protect you and your loved ones by dialing (213) 596-9642! We can also help with San Diego and Texas cases.

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Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline is an inactive U.S. Marine and world-famous legal historian. Michael helped draft the Cruise Ship Safety Act and has won some of U.S. history’s largest motorcycle accident settlements. Together with his legal team, Michael and the Ehline Law Firm collect damages on behalf of clients. We pride ourselves on being available to answer your most pressing and difficult questions 24/7. We are proud sponsors of the Paul Ehline Memorial Motorcycle Ride and a Service Disabled Veteran Operated Business. (SDVOB.) We are ready to fight.