Year after year, more and more people are choosing public transportation over personal vehicles as their primary form of travel. With nearly every major transit system seeing full percentage point increases in rider share, accidents involving buses and trains have likewise increased. According to bus accident statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, close to 70,000 bus accidents occurred in the year 2014 alone. These trends will likely continue to increase as cities everywhere expand their public transit systems to meet the demands of their growing populations.
Buses are, by far, the most common form of public transportation in the United States. As such, buses make up the bulk of accidents involving public transit. Every year, buses carry over 700 million passengers, roughly the entire population of Europe. In a 2010 study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, it was found that 63,000 buses are involved in an accident every year, causing nearly 14,000 injuries and over 300 fatalities. It was also found that urban buses were 1.9% more likely to be involved in an accident. Buses are as prone to wrecks as any other vehicle on the road.
A study in the Journal of Safety Research found that per mile, riding in a bus is not much safer than riding in an automobile. “While bus accidents comprise a relatively small share of the total accidents (0.6%) in the United States, the number of bus accidents per million passenger miles (3.04) is comparable to the number of car accidents per million driven miles (3.21).” Buses may seem safe due to their larger size and slower speeds. Mile for mile, though, they’re as dangerous as regular cars.
Accidents involving buses occur for a number of reasons. In the same Journal of Safety Research study, it’s reported that 83% of drivers involved in a bus accident exhibited no signs of risky behavior. The study goes on to show that risky behavior in drivers tends to increase as a driver ages. The study’s model showed that “relative to drivers between 35 and 55 years old, drivers over 65 years of age increase the likelihood of light injuries by 18.6%, of severe non-incapacitating injuries by 33.1%, of severe incapacitating injuries by 52.3%, and of fatality by 18.0%.” In comparison, drivers who simply engaged in risky behavior, such as speeding or alcohol and drug use, were only responsible for 4% of reported accidents.
Driver fatigue and inattentiveness are also common causes for bus accidents. With the rise of cell phones and texting, distracted drivers are a major reason behind a number of bus accidents. In 2015, nearly 4,000 fatalities were reported due to distracted driving and as a result, many states have begun adopting stricter penalties for texting while driving.
More so than any other type of bus, school buses have been found to be the safest. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fewer than 10 children are killed annually in accidents involving school buses. Unfortunately, hundreds of children are injured each year in school bus accidents. With close to half a million school buses in operation annually, children are often at risk of serious injury while riding the bus to school. School buses may be safer than most buses, but accidents do still happen.
Knowing your bus accident statistics can only go so far. Bus accidents are a common reality of road travel today. Victims of bus accidents suffer not just physical injuries but psychological damage such as anxiety and depression. If you find yourself the victim of a bus accident you may be entitled to compensation for mounting medical bills and lost hours at work, as well as pain and suffering which can last years.
The Advocates has top-notch lawyers with decades of experience handling bus accident cases. They will put your needs above all others and fight to make your life whole again according to the law. Please call The Advocates today to make an appointment for a free consultation.
References: “Risk factors Associated with Bus Accident Severity in the United States,” Journal of Safety Research, July. 2012. Web <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22974682>.