Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people across Illinois with serious injuries suffered in bus crashes, common carrier collisions, and other types of professional vehicular negligence. In our experience, bus accidents are often the result of driver fatigue or distraction (i.e., looking at a smartphone or text messaging), operating the bus too fast during inclement weather or on bad roads, poor bus maintenance, equipment malfunction, or inadequate driver training.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 25,000 people were injured and 274 killed nationwide in traffic accidents involving buses in 2017. For purposes of government statistics, a bus is defined as any large vehicle designed to carry nine or more persons including the driver.
Some more 2017 national and state figures:
- Of the 274 U.S. bus fatalities, 79 involved school buses; 104 people were killed in transit bus accidents (e.g., a city bus); 20 fatalities involved motorcoaches or cross-country buses; and 54 were killed on a “van-based bus”. The fatalities include bus occupants as well as occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians.
- In Illinois, there were about 1,500 crashes involving school buses, injuring 269 victims including children (an increase of over 4 percent from 2016) and killing two. 1,243 of these crashes occurred in urban areas and 250 in rural locations.
- There were 2,733 crashes in Illinois involving buses other than school buses, injuring 579 and killing six.
- From 2007 to 2017, school buses accounted for 40 percent all buses involved in fatal crashes nationwide, while transit buses accounted for 35 percent.
(Figures from FMCSA and the Illinois Department of Transportation)
Why do Buses Crash?
Deficient bus driver training or improper hiring practices can put a driver behind the wheel of a bus who is not prepared to handle every problem that can arise on the roadway. Poorly maintained buses can also create a serious problem if the driver is operating a malfunctioning vehicle. Other times, the road could be slippery or in disrepair, or another motorist could cross the bus’s path, causing a sudden stop and unavoidable collision.
The sheer weight and size of a bus and lack of access to seatbelts often produce devastating injuries and even death when a bus crashes. The most common types of buses involved in accidents resulting from driver error or other factors include:
- School buses—Any collision involving a school bus can be catastrophic when children are seriously injured or killed. Unfortunately, most school buses in America are not equipped with seatbelts to strap children in safely on their way to and from school, sporting events, and other extracurricular trips outside their classrooms. Also, there might be state laws immunizing the school district or county from a lawsuit. However, others could share liability including the bus driver, maintenance company, roadway crews, bus manufacturer, or parts maker.
- City buses such as those in the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Pace suburban public transit systems. See our FAQ page about the special issues involved in seeking compensation from publicly owned bus companies.
- Commercial carriers—Greyhound and other bus companies operate as interstate commercial carriers transporting passengers long distances. Many passengers board these vehicles believing they are safe. Passengers freely move around the interior of the bus while it is moving and can suffer an injury if the driver quickly changes lanes, makes a sharp turn, or slams on the brakes. Many commercial carrier accidents are the result of driver mistake or erratic passenger behavior, tire blowout, mechanical failure, inclement weather, or speeding when the driver is attempting to keep an unrealistic schedule, causing the bus to overturn or collide with other vehicles.
- Coach/touring buses— Nearly all privately operated charter buses are owned by large companies that have an enormous fleet of vehicles that are usually maintained by the parent corporation.
- Regional transportation buses to the suburbs and rural areas
Have More Questions About Bus Accidents?
Our bus accident injury attorneys have compiled a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked questions about bus crashes and posted the answers below. We hope this will be a useful resource for families in deciding whether and how to take legal action to seek financial compensation for injuries and other damages following bus accidents.
Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights with an experienced Chicago bus crash lawyer. We have successfully litigated many Illinois bus accident cases and won our clients the financial compensation they deserve. If you or your child have been injured while riding a bus or while under the supervision of a bus driver, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you recover compensation for your injuries.
- FMCSA Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2017
- 2017 Illinois Crash Facts & Statistics
- School Bus Safety
- Bus Crashes in the United States