Commercial vehicle drivers have a high duty of care, including those who drive city transit, mass transit and interstate buses. Bus drivers are responsible for the lives of others when they get behind the wheel.
Tragically, four people were killed and dozens more injured after a commercial tour bus overturned early Tuesday on Interstate 95 in central Virginia. The bus held fifty-eight passengers.
When Virginia State Police got to the scene, the bus was resting upside down on its roof about a quarter mile south of the Carmel Church exit. It was described as a single-vehicle crash, and officials said it ran off the right side of the road.
The driver of the bus suffered minor injuries and is reported to be cooperating with investigators who are trying to determine what caused the crash.
The bus full of passengers left Greensboro, N.C., Monday at 10:30 p.m., and was en route to New York City’s Chinatown when it crashed. Victims of the crash were being treated at area hospitals.
The bus wreck shut down the northbound lanes of I-95 of traffic, and the roads weren’t expected to reopen for several hours.
Bus wrecks can have a myriad of causes, from driver error and/or inattention, cell phone use by the driver, texting and driving, mechanical problems with the bus, distractions, and others.
To combat mechanical issues, Federal authorities say nearly 2,800 spot safety checks of passenger buses across the country from March 28 through April 6 resulted in about 10 percent of the vehicles or drivers being taken off the road.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Tuesday announced the results of the surprise inspections carried out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state and local law enforcement agencies.
The inspections took place from March 28 through April 6.
Federal transportation authorities say 289 drivers or buses were taken off roadways. Three-hundred buses were removed from service out of 3,000 inspections during an earlier 17-day series of spot checks.
The focus on surprise inspections follows deadly accidents involving cut-rate passenger buses, including the March 12 crash of a casino bus in New York City that killed 15 people.
At Montes Law Group, we represent victims of bus crashes and commercial vehicle wrecks. We investigate early and thoroughly, find the cause, and bring justice to innocent victims of negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bus wreck, commercial vehicle wreck, or other type of negligent conduct, call us today.
Rachel E. Montes, voted Best Lawyer Under 40 in Dallas, D Magazine, Texas Super Lawyer, Best Lawyer in Dallas 2010.
Graduate, Trial Lawyers College.
Board of Directors: Dallas and Texas Trial Lawyers Association
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of a young man who was struck and killed by a Dart bus in downtown Dallas. Apparently, the man had just exited a bus earlier that morning, and had crossed a driveway near the intersection of Griffin and San Jacinto in the West End, when he was struck by a second bus.
The man was wearing a hoodie and DART officials speculate that may have prevented the man from seeing the second bus.
The man, whose identity has not yet been released, was transported to Parkland Hospital in Dallas where he later died.
The city bus companies serving Dallas/Fort Worth and nearby communities have a legal responsibility to ensure safe and secure conditions for their riders. Assault injuries resulting from insufficient security and traffic collisions caused by improper driving techniques, distracted drivers and even intoxicated riders and drivers can result in serious injuries and death.
If you have been injured while riding a bus, getting on or off a bus, or waiting at a bus stop or terminal, you may be entitled to seek full and fair money damages for the full extent of your pain, medical treatment and financial losses.
We are ready to help. Call us. Rachel E. Montes, Best Personal Injury/Wrongful Death lawyer D Magazine, Texas Superlawyers
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of a 7-year-old boy who lost his life on Thursday afternoon after exiting a school bus. After getting off the bus at about 3:00 p.m. on State Highway 34 near FM 2728, he was hit and killed by a passing vehicle.
Investigators said the child was crossing Highway 34 with his two younger brothers to get to their house. The driver, Salvador Hernandez, 47, of Terrell, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Investigators said he ignored the school bus’ red flashing lights and its stop sign, which was displayed to alert southbound traffic to stop.
Every year, there are at least 8.8 billion trips taken by school buses loaded with our children. Statistics show that there are more than 440,000 school buses on the road, transporting over 24 million kids to school and home and other related activities. Accident statistics show that roughly 26 kids die every year in school bus accidents, or are hurt while getting off the bus or hurt as passengers.
While fatality rates are higher in automobiles, there are still ways to make school buses safer. Any behavior that causes driver distraction is dangerous. Here are some other tips for school bus passenger safety:
When you see the bus coming, line up about ten feet from the curb. Wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver advises it is safe to board. The driver is the only one who can view all traffic on the road.
If you must cross the street to board the bus, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and for the driver to flash the red lights; look both ways before you cross.
Stay out of the ‘Danger Zone’–anywhere within 10 feet of the bus
When there is an accident involving a school bus and another vehicle, one of the most important things to do is to determine fault. In many instances, fault will lie with the “other” driver; some will be caused by the bus driver in some the school bus driver, and some will result from the negligence of both bus driver and opposite vehicle.
Families affected by school bus tragedies should hire a qualified personal injury lawyer immediately. Evidence is gathered by the insurance companies defending these cases immediately, so you should have someone in your corner protecting your rights, and working to ensure that other families are safer in the future.
Two students from Garden Villas Elementary School and Cornelius Elementary School in northeast Houston were taken to the hospital following a collision with another vehicle that was leaving an apartment complex. Six students were on board the school bus at the time of the crash that occurred near the intersection of Telephone Road and Fuqua Street.
Last week, 11 students from Crosby High School were transported to the hospital following a head-on collision with another vehicle that resulted in the death of Sideney Eugene Kelton. Read more in our blog 11 STUDENTS INJURED IN DEADLY SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT NEAR HOUSTON.
A Fort Worth municipal bus was involved in an accident Tuesday that injured at least 11 people. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority says the accident happened when the bus was struck while traveling through an intersection on a green light. Several bus passengers and the driver of the Nissan that struck the larger vehicle were taken to hospitals while the remaining 18 passengers on the bus were transported to their destinations on a different bus. Police are investigating the wreck, but have not said who they believe caused the collision.
We recently blogged about a similar case involving a school bus that was involved in an accident near Houston. We encourage you to read that blog post to consider some of the insurance issues that arise when a wreck occurs that involves several injured people or that involves a city vehicle or other government owned vehicle Go to AUTO ACCIDENTS, and read the post 11 STUDENTS INJURED IN DEADLY SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT NEAR HOUSTON.
Following the deadly crash of the Americanos USA bus crash south of San Antonio which killed Christina Lozano Campos, (62) of Lewisville, Texas and Efrain Cominquez-Valenzuela of Brownsville, Texas and which injured at least 40 others, investigators are indicating that the drive shaft to the bus may have broken and caused the deadly crash.
The bus had been on the interstate about an hour when the passengers heard a loud noise and felt the bus flip around before toppling on its side in a grassy median on Interstate 37. “I think we did a 180. We flipped and I was out the window,” said Daryl Champagne, a 17-year-old San Antonio high school senior who was on his way to South Padre Island with two classmates on spring break.
DPS Trooper Jason Reyes said the cause of the accident remained under investigation, but there was no initial indication the driver, 47-year-old Irma Morado, was impaired. Investigators suspect equipment failure may have caused the crash, said DPS spokesman Tom Vinger, though officials said the tires appeared intact.
Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said that although findings were preliminary, and that the investigation was ongoing, the early investigation is revealing that a broken drive shaft likely caused the Americanos USA bus headed to Mexico from San Antonio veer wildly on a Texas highway before flipping over, killing two passengers and injuring at least 40 others on board.
The drive shaft transfers power from the engine to the wheels of the bus. The drive shaft is believed to have fallen off before the Americanos USA bus careened from the right lane toward the median and spun wildly. Bus drive shafts rarely break and completely fall off, said Joe Pemberton, whose Glendale, Ariz.-based company, Motorcoach Training & Development Inc., trains and certifies bus mechanics. Newer buses are equipped with a safety strap designed to catch a broken shaft so that it doesn’t completely destabilize the bus. But such devices can fail, and if one does, the shaft can snag on the pavement and turn the bus over, Pemberton said. If the drive shaft breaks and falls off and snags the pavement, “It would act like a pole vaulter,” Pemberton said. There is no indication yet as to whether this bus had the safety strap, or if so, what the condition of that strap was.
Most bus companies inspect the drive shaft about every 10,000 miles as part of maintenance, Pemberton said. According to Bonnie Bastian, a spokeswoman for FirstGroup America, the parent company of Dallas-based Greyhound Lines Inc., the bus underwent its regularly scheduled maintenance the day before the crash.
With these developments, the focus of the investigation will probably begin to shift to look at the thoroughness of the maintenance work the company does in general on all of its buses as well as the maintenance history of this particular truck.
The obligations bus companies such Americanos USA and Greyhound Bus lines have to their customers includes the obligations to conduct thorough maintenance inspections and to repair or to replace those parts of the vehicle which need to be repaired, particularly when such issues could reasonably affect the safety of passengers on the bus. Certainly, this obligation would include the obligation to have safety straps installed on the drive shaft and to regularly inspect and to maintain those straps so that they can do what they are intended to do in the event a drive shaft fails.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a bus accident, we recommend that you hire an attorney to represent you. The bus company will take action to protect its interests including immediately hiring lawyers and investigators. You need someone who is trained and experienced in dealing with these cases that will fight for your rights. We are experienced in thorough investigation of many accident types, and our lawyers can call on specialized resources to determine whether negligence caused your bus crash.
Contact Rachel Montes at Montes Law Group, PC, (214) 522-9401 for counsel after any type of bus or other mass transit accident. Particularly because Greyhound has its principal office in Dallas, these cases tend to end up being handled out of the Dallas area regardless of where the wreck actually occurred. Our firm is located in Las Colinas (Irving), Texas, and we have handled other bus accident cases, including cases against Greyhound all across Texas and the United States. We are well equipped to pursue compensation in these cases.. If you communicate best in Spanish, or have other specific needs, just let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. Visit our website at www.MontesLawGroup.com for more information about our firm.