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Category Archive: Bus Accidents

  1. Nonprofit Focused on Transportation Safety Schedules Annual Check

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    Tractor Trailer

    The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has announced that this year’s Operation Safe Driver will occur from October 16-22, 2016. Last year, law enforcement agencies conducted almost 20,000 roadside inspections during the Operation week focused on transportation safety. Driving in excess of the speed limit was the main reason that warnings and citations were issued to commercial vehicle drivers. Other reasons that drivers were cited were for failure to wear a seatbelt, failure to obey a traffic control device, and for using a handheld phone. All together, 4,062 citations were issued, as were 3,929 warnings.

    These safety inspections, aimed at reducing injuries and deaths caused by commercial vehicles, are warranted in the protection of drivers and their passengers on Missouri roadways. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) reports crash data annually, and in its most recent report (2014), they indicated that 109 people were killed in commercial vehicle crashes, along with 3,185 people who were injured. Its definition of commercial vehicles includes “trucks having a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more, cargo vans, vans with less than nine occupants, limousines having 9 to 15 occupant capacity, buses having occupant capacities of 16 or more, and vehicles displaying hazardous materials placards.” These efforts, along with other inspections, can help to make highways in St. Louis and throughout Missouri safer.

     

     

     

     

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  2. 8 Children Injured in Bus Accident in North St. Louis

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    KMOV news reported last week that a school bus with 14 children on board was involved in a car accident in St. Louis, Missouri. Eight of the children suffered injuries. Six children were transported to St. Louis area hospitals for treatment. The extent of their injuries was described as minor.

    Car accidents involving school buses are common occurrences across the country. In general, the NTSB considers school buses safe. Advocates against seat belts on school buses argue, among other things, that school buses are “compartmentalized” for protection. This approach relies on seats that are padded and energy absorbing to protect the occupants who are “compartmentalized” between seats on the bus.

    However, many personal injury attorneys in Missouri would consider the lack of seat belts to be a problem. In March of this year, ABC News highlighted the debate taking place in many states over whether school buses should be equiped with seat belts. The article pointed out that only 6 states have passed legislation dealing with seat belts on school buses. The article mentions the irony in requiring that the school bus driver wear a seat belt while all of the children go seat belt free on the bus.

    Missouri does not require seat belts on school buses. It was, however, a Missouri school bus accident earlier this year on Interstate 44 that reignited the debate over whether seat belts should be required on school buses. In that accident, several students were injured and killed when their school bus was involved in a wreck with a tractor-trailer and pick-up truck.

    Most Missouri accident lawyers would welcome the enhanced safety that school bus seat belts would provide to students traveling within this state.

    Bus Accident Injures 8 Students in North St. Louis, kmov.com, November 17, 2010

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  3. Jefferson County Children Injured in School Bus Accident

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    Most St. Louis personal injury attorneys have had auto accident cases involving injuries to pedestrians. These cases are particularly troubling when the pedestrians are children. Earlier today, KSDK news reported that two pedestrian children were struck at a bus stop in Jefferson County while crossing the street to board a school bus.

    According to DeSoto, Missouri police, the children were crossing the street to board a school bus when a driver failed to stop for the bus stop sign arm. Missouri law requires that the driver of a vehicle, upon meeting from either direction any school bus which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging school children and whose driver has given the signal to stop, shall stop the vehicle before reaching the school bus and shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion, or until signaled by its driver to proceed. For the text of this Missouri law, click here.

    The news article mentioned certain mitigating factors such as glare from the sun, but the need for extreme caution around a stopped school bus can never be underestimated. School bus accidents cause serious and devastating injuries and the need for extreme vigilance should always be present.

    The latest news reports indicate that at least one of the young pedestrians from this school bus accident was released from the hospital soon after the accident. We can only hope that the second victim of this accident makes a quick hospital exit as well.

    2 Children struck at bus stop, KSDK.com, October 5, 2011.

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  4. Federal Panel to Review Deadly Truck and Bus Accidents

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    As a St. Louis personal injury attorney, I was happy to see that the federal government recently convened a panel to focus on deadly bus accidents and truck accidents. In May of this year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) held a two-day panel to focus on ways to reduce the number of fatal truck accidents and bus accidents.

    One proposal put forth by the government involves reducing the number of driving hours from 11 to 10 a day. The proposal also includes requiring mandatory rest breaks for drivers, limiting the work day to 14 hours and requiring drivers to take more time off to rest after reaching their weekly driving limit.

    The Associated Press article discussing the NTSB focus group highlighted the tragic nature of many tractor-trailer, bus and truck accidents. The article discussed a tragic accident in which a 76 year old tractor-trailer driver who had slept only about five hours the previous night and had been driving almost 10 hours failed to see a line of cars stopped on the highway for a fender bender and plowed into and over several vehicles killing 10 people.

    As any Missouri lawyer knows, truck accident cases and bus accident cases usually involve serious injury and death. The citizens of Missouri would be well served by increasing the safety of our highways through reasonable regulation.

    Panel to Focus on Deadly Truck, Bus Accidents, Associated Press, May 10, 2011

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  5. Fatal Bus Accident Highlights Driver Fatigue

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    Yahoo News reported earlier this month that a May 31 fatal bus accident in Bowling Green, Virginia, took the lives of several people and injured many more. As a St. Louis accident attorney, I could not help but take note of this accident given the recent string of bus accidents in our area. In this case, the bus was transporting 59 passengers. According to reports, the driver fell asleep in the early morning hours and lost control of the bus causing a crash.

    The bus company employing the driver had been cited on numerous occasions for violating safety rules involving driver fatigue. Apparently, the company had been cited for 46 violations involving driver fatigue rules over two years. The company was ranked in the bottom 14 percent of motor carriers. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), between 13 percent and 31 percent of commercial vehicle crashes are due to driver fatigue.

    While this was not a Missouri accident, Missouri bus accident attorneys are no strangers to serious passenger and school bus accidents. The greater St. Louis region alone has had several high profile bus crashes in the last few years. Any St. Louis personal injury attorney would look at the facts of the Bowling Green accident and immediately consider the actions of the company employing the driver. The history of this company’s conduct might suggest an action for punitivie damages in a Missouri lawsuit.

    A Missouri wrongful death lawyer investigating the Bowling Green accident would consider whether the company’s and driver’s conduct would constitute an aggravating circumstance under Missouri’s wrongful death laws. This claim is similar to a punitive damage count. When companies have a pattern of willfull misconduct, wanton or reckless behavior, punitive damages may be appropriate when someone is injured or killed.

    The NTSB is looking at new rules and regulations to make bus companies comply with safety regulations regarding driver fatigue. One proposal is to install an automated method for keeping track of driver’s hours instead of paper driving logs. These new regulations should make Missouri roads safer for bus passengers and the citizens of Missouri.

    Fatal VA Bus Crash, Yahoo.com News, June 11, 2011

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  6. Bus Companies in Crashes Cited for Safety Violations

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    The USA TODAY is reporting that a review it conducted of government records showed a number of bus companies cited for safety violations have not had follow-up audits. According to USA TODAY, the follow-up audits are to determine if companies are following required safety rules and regulations. These rules include drug and alcohol tests of drivers and hour limitations on driver operation. The USA TODAY analysis of government records found that 433 out of 3,100 motor coach operators were listed as “on alert” by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is charged with overseeing both bus and truck safety. For a sample of FMCSA rules regarding common carriers, click here.

    The USA TODAY article was prompted by two recent east coast bus crashes. In one incident, a bus was involved in a crash near New York on March 12, 2011. Fifteen passengers were killed in that bus accident. According to the USA TODAY, the company had five violations of “fatigued driver” rules since May 2009 leading up to the accident.

    Missouri bus accident attorneys are familiar with crashes of tour bus and passenger bus carriers. Many bus companies pass through St. Louis and Kansas City en route to all parts of the country. When a bus accident takes place, it usually commands a lot of news because of the number of people who could potentially be injured or killed. In Missouri, when an accident does occur, the Missouri personal injury lawyer may want to investigate all aspects of the driver’s conduct, the company’s safety record and any other information relevant to driver conduct and training.

    Common carriers like bus companies are subject to enhanced regulation. With prompt and effective enforcement of these regulations, bus accident injuries in Missouri and nationwide might be reduced.

    Bus Companies in Crashes Cited for Safety Violations, USA TODAY, March 23, 2011

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  7. Tractor-Trailer Involved in School Bus Accident

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    CNN reports that a tractor-trailer was involved in a fatal school bus accident in the South earlier this week. The semi truck struck a school bus on a narrow bridge, and then collided with another school bus. The school buses had high school students on board who were visiting an area college. Several people were killed and injured in this truck/school bus accident.

    St. Louis personal injury attorneys have seen several school bus accidents in the greater St. Louis area in the past few years. Each time a Missouri school bus accident takes place, we stop and pause over concern for the youth that are normally passengers on these buses. When a tractor-trailer, or any large truck, and a school bus collide we are even more horrified at the prospects. As everyone knows, accidents involving tractor-trailers and large trucks can cause serious personal injury.

    Like certain other states, Missouri does not require seat belts on school buses. In addition, the state regulatory scheme involved in checking the credentials of Missouri school bus drivers has changed over the years. While the majority of school bus drivers may be competent to transport our children and youth, constant vigilance is still needed. For information on Missouri’s school bus license requirements click here.

    Missouri personal injury lawyers representing the victims of school bus accidents will familiarize themselves with both the state and federal laws that apply to the operation and maintenance of the school bus. While a personal injury lawyer is involved in obtaining compensation for the victims of truck and bus accidents, the threat of civil lawsuits and liability may cause bus operators, owners and drivers to employ safer policies and practices to the benefit of their passengers.

    Mississippi Bus Crash, CNN.com, February 8, 2011

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