Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

filippo-ascione-161021-copy-300x200Following a deadly charter bus accident in August 2016, Merced County district attorneys have brought multiple charges against the driver, Mario David Vasquez. A law enforcement investigation uncovered Vasquez was overly tired, talking on his cell phone, and violating multiple commercial regulations at the time of the crash, which led to four fatalities. Due to the evidence of Vasquez’s negligent actions while behind the wheel, he has been charged with four counts of vehicular manslaughter and five misdemeanor traffic violations.

While Vasquez faces criminal charges, he and his employer, Auto Buses Coordinados USA, could also face civil wrongful death suits based on his actions. If the families of those lost in the charter bus crash can prove the driver’s negligence, they may be able to obtain compensation for their losses.

California’s Wrongful Death Law

yo3whnbzxsc-joel-peel-300x200On February 7, a school bus carrying students crashed into another vehicle in Lancaster, California. The bus rolled over and hit a utility pole near East Lancaster Boulevard and 20th Street East. The accident occurred around 7:15 a.m. while the bus was carrying eight students with special needs and two of their aids. Seven students suffered minor injuries and one suffered critical injuries. The driver of the other vehicle, a Cadillac, was also taken to a local hospital with serious injuries. The crash is currently under investigation though an initial statement from the bus driver alleged that the Cadillac ran a red light.

This accident is one example of the type of collision a school bus can be involved in. While school bus accidents are generally rare, they are not unheard of and can result in serious injuries and fatalities. While the students in Lancaster had seat belts and were wearing them, many students do not have safety belts in their buses or choose not to wear them. This is one of the reasons students may be seriously injured in a school bus crash. If you or a your child was hurt while riding the school bus, contact a San Francisco school bus accident lawyer from Brod Law Firm to learn about your legal objects.

School Bus Accidents

102abqkkhby-rezaul-karim-200x300A vehicle crashed into a Muni bus stand, injuring 10 people, several of them critically. The accident occurred on Stockton Street in Chinatown. The crash is under investigation. According to reports, the crash happened when a driver lost control of her vehicle. First, the car hit a parked vehicle and a moving car before careening into the bus stop enclosure. The crash happened on December 22, 2016.

Injuries Due to the Crash

Many people suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident. Reportedly, injuries included broken bones, head and neck injuries, and back injuries. An elderly woman suffered fractures to her pelvis, ribs, and leg. Most victims are expected to make a full recovery, but several were initially listed in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

p_pnznnd7-y-ashim-d-silva-300x200A Google charter bus traveling in Saratoga struck and killed a woman last week. The woman was walking to a bus stop when the bus reportedly turned the corner and hit her. The accident occurred at the corner of Fruitvale Avenue and Athletics Way on the campus of West Valley College in Saratoga. The bus is owned by Storer Coachways and is used to transport employees to and from the parking lots at the community college.

Weather Conditions May Have Played a Role

An investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing. However, initial reports indicate that there were strong winds and heavy rain at the time of the accident, which happened at 5:15 PM on January 3, 2017. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead. The bus company issues a statement of condolence to the woman’s family. It is not known whether the woman was in the crosswalk at the time of the accident.

800px-NS_-_School_busSchool bus accidents are among the most devastating, especially when young children are injured. Recent school bus accidents in the news highlight the importance of school bus riders and drivers taking proper safety precautions. Recently, a school bus in Tennessee careened off the road, flipping before hitting a tree, killing six children and injuring many more. Another bus carrying cheerleaders was involved in a highway accident with an 18-wheeler. These accidents caused serious injuries, and likely could have been prevented.

Seat Belts on School Buses

Most school buses are not equipped with seat belts. There is some disagreement as to whether seat belts help or hurt in school bus accidents. Seat belts can certainly prevent kids from flying out of their seats if the bus flips, or comes to a sudden stop. However, some people think that it may be more difficult to get children out of the vehicle should it be involved in a serious problem, such as a fire. The school bus involved in the Tennessee accident was not equipped with seat belts.

Tour_bus_in_ThailandNo two car crashes or highway collisions are the same, and no matter how many victims you help recover compensation through the civil courts, you can never be truly prepared for the carnage and tragedy of a crash like the one that happened this week on Interstate 10. There, a tour bus returning from a casino slammed into the back of a slow-moving tractor-trailer truck. The truck was believed to have been traveling at five miles per hour because of utility work that was going on; the bus is believed to have been traveling over 60 miles per hour when it struck the trailer. The crash killed 13 individuals and injured another 31, making it one of the deadliest car crashes in state history.

“No Evidence the Driver Applied the Brakes”

According to a Fox News report, the California Highway Patrol concluded that there was no evidence the driver of the tour bus applied the brakes to the bus before striking the tractor-trailer. In order to make this conclusion in this or any other car crash case, investigators usually look at two pieces of evidence:

Tour buses can be a great way to travel.  Longer distance buses are often an affordable option that can save riders the stress of driving and the cost of gas, not to mention the environmental (and traffic!) benefits of taking cars off the road.  In-town tour buses are also a great option, allowing visitors to get an overview of a city and a sense of the places they might want to visit later.  Sadly, we have seen far too many tour bus accidents in recent years.  Our Northern California tour bus accident law firm is committed to helping victims obtain compensation and holding companies accountable in the hopes of preventing future tragedies.

Tour Bus Accident Kills Five in San Joaquin Valley

CBS SF reports that a tour bus crash in the San(image by Greg Goebel) Joaquin Valley claimed five lives on Tuesday.  The crash occurred around 3:20 A.M. on Highway 99 North near Livingston, approximately 15 miles northwest of Merced. California Highway Patrol representatives told CBS that the tour bus collided with a pole which tore through the center of the vehicle.  The bus was travelling to Sacramento from Southern California.  Authorities believe at least 30 people were on board at the time of the accident.  The driver of the bus reportedly suffered major injuries. As of the time of this writing, it is unclear how many passengers were injured but CHP reports at least five individuals were airlifted to area hospitals.  The cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

The yellow school bus is an iconic symbol of childhood in America.  Many of us waved goodbye to our parents as we headed off to school on the bus and then grew to become the parents waving goodbye our own children.  They transport our most precious resource, our children, so we should be able to trust they are safe.  A recent lawsuit calls attention to the issue of school bus safety and caught the attention of our San Francisco school bus accident attorney.

Settlement Calls Attention to School Bus Safety

According to SFGate, a school bus company agreed to pay $11.5 million in order to settle a lawsuit claiming the company used unsafe buses to take San Francisco students to and from school.  The lawsuit claimed that from 2006 through 2011, the company provided buses to San Francisco United School District that had threadbare tires, worn brakes, aschoolbusnd other maintenance-related problems.  Although the California Highway Patrol inspected the buses annually, they did not identify the problems at that time.  The two mechanics who led the lawsuit say that company records show the bus company misrepresented the safety of the vehicles.  The case alleged that company records showed 300 cases where the company violated a requirement that buses be inspected every 45 days and also ignored complaints from drivers and mechanics about the buses including reports of “metal-on-metal” sounds during braking.

From the big yellow buses we put our children on each morning (image by Greg Goebel)to the city buses we ride in our daily commutes and the buses that let us tour a new city, we have a right to expect buses to be safe.  In addition to ensuring that the vehicles are functioning properly, bus companies should be held responsible for ensuring that their policies and practices encourage safe driving.  A recent study raises questions about whether a major bus company has been putting passengers at risk due to drowsy bus drivers.  With several high-profile bus accidents in our own region in recent years, this study is of great concern to our San Francisco bus accident lawyer.

CNN Investigation Suggests Bus Company Fails to Prevent Drowsy Driving

CNN recently looked into the safety practices of the Greyhound bus company, the largest bus company in North America that transports some 18 million passengers across approximately 5.5 billion miles each year.  The investigation was partly inspired by a 2013 accident that left one woman dead and many more injured.  Passengers on that tragic bus ride believe that their driver fell asleep at the wheel.  At least one pending lawsuit involving 22 of the passengers suggests that Greyhound is at fault for allowing a dangerously drowsy driver to operate a bus.  Greyhound denies that fatigue was a factor in that crash.

Every year, the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) releases what it calls its “Most Wanted List.”  This list represents the NTSB’s top advocacy priorities for the year, improvements to safety that the NTSB believes can make the biggest difference in preventing transportation accidents and saving lives.  Our San Francisco injury law firm shares the NTSB’s commitment to transportation safety and, while we advocate for injury victims in California every day, we know that prevention is always the best goal.

The following items are on the NTSB’s 2016 Most Wanted List:

  • Reduce Fatigue-Related Accidents: It is impossible to know exactly how many car accidents are due to drowsy driving, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes anywhere from 2% to 20% of yearly traffic fatalities are due to drowsy drivers.  The problem also extends to other areas of the transportation field and the NTSB identified fatigue as a probable cause in 20% of the Board’s 182 major investigations between 2001 and 2012.