Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

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.

When we hail a cab or, the modern-day equivaluberent, call for an Uber, we expect to be getting a safe ride to our location.  That’s what we pay them.  In fact, often people are trying to make the safe choice and responsibly avoiding driving while intoxicated.  However, a senseless act of violence in Michigan and a lawsuit pending here in California are both drawing attention to the safety of taxis and Ubers.  As a taxi accident lawyer in San Francisco, Greg Brod has experience advocating for those injured when then entrusted the driving to someone else.

Uber Driver Suspected in Spree Shooting in Michigan

According to CBS SF, San Francisco-based Uber recently confirmed that the man who allegedly went on a shooting spree and killed six people in Kalamazoo, had passed the organization’s background check.  An Uber passenger claims to have called to report an erratic driver over an hour before the shooting rampage allegedly began, saying the driver began blowing past stop signs, driving through medians, and sideswiping vehicles just after receiving a phone call.  About an hour later, the first shooting occurred and seven more shootings occurred over the next several hours before the suspected perpetrator was arrested.  Uber officials have expressed sorrow and horror.  The company prohibits drivers and passengers from having weapons in an Uber vehicle.

Last Tuesday, we published a blog entry about bus accidents.  In a tragic turn, between the time we wrote the post and the time it went live on our website, another terrible bus accident occurred in the Bay Area.  We regularly look at major news stories and this accident raises several important issues, including the serious danger of overtired drivers.  Bus drivers hold many lives in their hands, both the lives of their passengers and the non-passengers who may be impacted in an accident with such a large vehicle.  It is, as we note below, too early to know for sure what caused last week’s deadly bus accident, but out San Francisco bus crash lawyer knows that the potential dangers of bus driver fatigue are too great to ignore.

Investigation Continues into San Jose Bus Crash, Officials Rule Out Mechanical Failure

It was early on a rainy Tuesday morning in San Jose when, as ABC7/KGO reported later that day, a Greyhound bus travelling on Highway 101 began to turn onto Highway 85 and suddenly slid into several impact barriers before landing on its side.  Two passengers died after being ejected through the bus’s front window.  One other passenger suffered serious injuries and nine others, including the driver, were taken to the hospital for minor injuries.  The bus, which left Los Angeles around 11:30 P.M. Monday, had been due to arrive in Oakland by 8:10 A.M.

City dwellers often have a love/hate relationship with tour buses.  Tour vehicles block traffic when they stop to load/unload passengers or halt for a “quick” photo op and large, double-decker buses can impede sightlines.  On bustourthe other hand, the tourism industry is a major source of revenue for our state and our region (per a Dean Runyan Associates study, total direct travel spending statewide in 2014 was $117.5 billion, including $29,987 million in the Bay Area and $1,760 million in Sonoma County) and a major source of jobs (per the same survey, tourism accounted for 1,0270,000 jobs statewide in 2014).  Sadly, however, tour buses have been in the news recently for a reason that trumps all other pros and cons – safety.  Tour bus accidents are a growing concern and our San Francisco tour bus accident lawyer represents both locals and visitors who are injured or lose loved ones in these tragic collisions.

Tour Bus Fatally Strikes San Francisco Pedestrian

At approximately 1 P.M. on Saturday, a tour bus hit and killed a pedestrian at the intersection of Post and Divisadero Streets.  According to The San Francisco Chronicle, police are still investigating, but early indicators suggest the pedestrian was crossing against a red light when the bus turned right and hit the man.  One witness, a former police officer, said the man was waving and shouting at the driver just prior to impact, but the driver appeared to be distracted by another motorist running a red light.   In the witness’s words, “I have no idea why (the driver) didn’t see him — unless he was looking somewhere else — but he must have passed right in front of him.  He wasn’t driving fast, but he just kept going.”

It is an iconic symbol of childhood and education – a big yellow school bus.  School buses help us keep the promise of a free and appropriate education for all children by ensuring children have a safe way to get to school.  As adults, one of our most important duties is ensuring the well-being of the next generation and school bus safety is an important part of this obligation.  Our San Francisco child injury lawyer fights for injured children and grieving families after school bus accidents, helping them recover needed compensation and helping make the roads safer for all

NHTSA Administrator on School Bus Safety Generally

schoolbusIn November, the Administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) Mark Rosekind, PhD spoke about school bus safety with the National Association for Pupil Transportation.  He opened by emphasizing that “[s]chool buses are by far the safest way for children to get to and from school.”   Statistics show more children die each year on the way to/from the bus than while onboard and more than 450 die each year in personal vehicles while commuting to and from school.

While they might be an unusual sight in rural locations, their big yellow counterparts excepted, buses are an important part of the transportation network in cities and tourist destinations.  In some ways, buses are a cross between a large truck and a passenger vehicle, carrying the heft of the larger vehicles with the precious cargo of a packed car.  Last week’s San Francisco tour bus accident has many taking a closer look at this special mode of transit.  Our San Francisco bus accident lawyer remains ready to help victims of any bus accidents in the Northern California region including passengers, occupants of other vehicles, and bystanders alike.

Authorities Eye History of Bus Involved in Union Square Crash

Earlier this week, NBC’s Bay Area affiliate provided an update on last week’s frightening Union Square crash involving a tour bus.  On Friday November 13, a tour bus plowed into a bicycle rider and hit multiple cars before crashing into scaffolding at the Union Square Apple store.  The incident left 20 people injured with three still in critical care and two listed in serious condition as of Monday.  Thus far, a city representative says the police suspect mechanical failure led to the crash, adding “This was 100 percent preventable if there was good recordkeeping and good maintenance reporting.”  She also said she would like the city to take over regulating city tour buses.