North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog

Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

Motor coaches can be a fast and fuel-efficient way to travel long distances. They can also be fairly dangerous. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported in October 2015 that transit buses accounted for 33 percent of all bus accidents in the country from 2003 to 2013. bus

Further, the number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 11 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 253 to 280, and the vehicle involvement rate for bus crashes increased by 8 percent.

The FMCSA is the federal agency responsible for overseeing motor coach/ transit bus safety in the U.S. It has the power to impose sanctions against companies that flout important safety rules, such as operational equipment, qualified drivers and adequate supervision of driver hours. However, that does not necessarily mean it can be held accountable for bus accidents.  Continue reading

Eight students were hospitalized following a recent school bus accident in Charlotte on Barrington Drive. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photographs of the site, published by WCNC.com, show the front of Charlotte-Mecklenburg school bus sheered off by a tree, with the front right wheel smashed sideways against the trunk.

Authorities say the crash happened when the driver of a Cadillac Escalade approached the Barrington Drive intersection and failed to stop at the red traffic light. The bus was traveling through the intersection at the same time, and the Escalade struck the left front side of the bus. The bus then careened off the right side of the road, striking two trees and coming to a rest. Meanwhile, the Escalade caught fire.  Continue reading

A fatal bus accident in North Carolina on I-95 was allegedly caused by a driver falling asleep, resulting in a collision between a car.
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A 54-year-old grandmother from Florida was killed and eight others were injured, one critically, as a result of the collision, which is being investigated by the North Carolina Highway Patrol.

The bus was carrying 48 passengers who were on their way to a spiritual conference from Queens, NY to Fayetteville. Authorities were later able to ascertain that the driver drifted to the right side of the road as briefly dozed off near the I-40 interchange, about a half hour south of Raleigh. Investigators say when the driver snapped-to, he over-corrected, which resulted in the bus crossing the median, heading south in the northbound lanes and slamming into a guardrail.
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Plaintiff in Sleiter v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. was one of 19 people injured in a school bus accident.
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Another driver was at-fault for the crash. Through the school district, the bus was insured for a maximum $1 million per accident. However, divided among 19 people, this didn’t leave plaintiff much for the type serious injuries he suffered. He therefore sought coverage through his parents’ underinsured motorist coverage policy for the difference between what he’d collected through the school’s insurance policy and what his actual damages were, under the policy limits of his parent’s policy.

However, the insurer denied this claim, asserting the “coverage available” to plaintiff – $1 million – exceeded his parent’s policy and thus he couldn’t collect. District Court agreed, as did the appellate court. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed. The court found the phrase “coverage available” in reference to “excess insurance protection” to be ambiguous, or having more than one reasonable meaning. In such cases, the outcome will be skewed in favor of the injured (as being at a disadvantage for not being the one to write the policy). Further, the court ruled that “coverage available” refers to the benefits actually paid to the insured under other polices, rather than what is actually available.
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Our Spartanburg car accident lawyers understand that seeking punitive damages can lead to extensive litigation. In MV Transp., Inc. v. Richard G. Allgeier (Executor of the Estate of Barbara Allgeier, Diseased), the Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled that punitive damages should be considered in a case involving a bus driver with a history of alcohol abuse.

street-scene-through-rain-glass.jpgIn South Carolina, the award of punitive damages is addressed in Section 15-32-200 of the Code of Laws.

In MV Transp. Inc., Barbara Allgeier was a frequent rider on a Metropolitan Transit Authority of River City (“TARC”) paratransit bus service. The paratransit bus service is operated by MV Transportation, Inc. (“MV”). A paratransit bus is a bus that is equipped to safely transport passengers in wheelchairs. The bus involved in this case was the TARC 3.
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A number of commercial bus accidents recently is a reminder that as spring arrives it’s important for bus travelers to research carriers before booking a trip. greenbus.jpg

Many professional drivers and carriers that are involved in crashes have a lengthy record for violations ranging from too many hours of service to failure to properly maintain vehicles.

Asheville bus accident lawyers recall just a few years ago, a city bus driver lost consciousness behind the wheel, crashed into parked cars, and ruptured a gas line before seriously injuring a pedestrian.
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Bad driving, inclement weather, distracted driving and other dangers on the road can create hazards for school bus passengers. In previous posts we have discussed the importance of school bus safety, especially in this new school season. In addition to practicing safe bus riding, parents may also be comforted to know that several North Carolina school districts are using additional tracking systems to monitor bus drivers in real time. The trend could be spreading throughout the region, giving parents, administrators and other authorities the ability to track drivers and driver behavior.

School bus driver safety is critical to preventing accidents. Our Raleigh bus accident attorneys are dedicated to raising awareness and helping victims recover compensation in the event of a bus accident. Attorneys from our firm are abreast of current developments in school bus safety and are dedicated to raising awareness. In the event of a bus accident, we protect the rights of victims and their families.

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According to recent press releases, there are now 13 school districts throughout North Carolina that are using new wireless technology to convey information about school buses. The tracking systems will greatly improve student rider safety by providing real time information for parents and administrators, including location, speed, and other alerts. Officials will be able to use the tracking information to ensure that bus drivers follow the law and safety regulations, including stopping at railroad crossings.
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Every year, parents send their children off to their first day of school. Many children will catch buses for the first time. Though many parents and children may know the dangers of crossing the street and school buses, remembering safety can slip minds during the active, bustling weeks of fall. This beginning of the school year season, parents, teachers, and administrators should keep in mind back to school safety to keep kids safe when traveling on buses.

School bus accidents can result in severe and permanent injuries and in the worst cases, accidental death. Our Greensboro attorneys are experienced in representing the victims and families of bus accidents. Understanding the severity of school bus accidents and injuries, our firm is committed to raising community awareness concerning back to school safety for our areas children and teens.

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The National Safety Council has initiated a campaign to raise safety awareness and to talk about ways to stay safe when riding busses, crossing streets, and riding bikes to school. While every parent knows the importance of making sure children arrive at school safely, details can be forgotten in the chaos of morning commutes or when a child is running late.
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Every summer, churches, schools, businesses, and other organizations will hire commercial bus companies to transport large groups. Whether you are riding a bus this summer or looking to hire a bus company, it is important to keep safety at the forefront of your planning. Nationwide, commercial bus, coach and other transport companies are under scrutiny for failing to follow safety regulations, and for not keeping passengers safe.

Over the last several years, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has pursued initiatives to identify and penalize companies in violation of safety standards. Many of the unsafe conditions, however, are recognized too late — after an accident. Our Charlotte bus accident attorneys are experienced in the investigation of commercial bus injuries and can help victims protect their rights.

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This summer the DOT has created a public awareness campaign and is taking greater efforts to regulate bussing companies in North Carolina, South Carolina, and nationwide. Earlier this month, the agency suspended a national bus company after discovering that it posed an “imminent hazard to public safety.” The agency has reported that the bus company, “Advanced Ventures” owned, operated and dispatched a fleet of mini- and coach buses. The company operated independently and profited from transporting passengers throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

The DOT is responsible for ensuring the safety of drivers, passengers, and motorists. Transportation safety includes regulating safety standards for bussing companies. According to the DOT, “Advanced Ventures” was shut down due to a number of violations that resulted in unsafe transport of passengers. Commercial bus regulations require that companies maintain vehicles, properly train drivers and ensure that safe routes are followed. Companies must also watch for inclement weather and suspend operations in unsafe conditions.

Bus companies are often scrutinized after an accident. In this case, “Advanced Ventures” was liable for a number of serious violations, including falsifying documents, failed maintenance, and using vehicles that were deemed “imminently hazardous.” Overall there were 39 safety violations. Proper maintenance requires upkeep of engine, vehicular inspections, safe exits, and proper function of windows. The bus company failed these inspections and also failed to check drivers for use of drugs or alcohol.

Bus and trucking companies must maintain proper log records to document the length of a trip, the number of hours a driver is behind the wheel. False records could seriously endanger passengers who are at risk of fatigued drivers or drivers under the influence. The DOT is looking to investigate and shut down those companies that are routinely in violation of federal safety laws.

Buses and other commercial trucking companies pose a higher risk to other passengers on the road. Passengers on board can also face serious hazards in the event of an accident. This summer, if you are going to be on board a commercial bus, remember to properly research the company and ensure that you and your loved ones are in safe hands. As a passenger, you should inquire about accident history and safety records. You should be wary if a company fails to follow internal or government protocols.

Now, passengers can download the “SaferBus” mobile app to get up-to-date information on safety records for any commercial bus line. Whether you are traveling alone, with family, or with an organization, travel safe this summer.
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When sending your children to school, you trust that their school buses are well-maintained, that drivers are properly screened and trained, and that safety protocols and procedures are implemented to prevent accidents. Unfortunately, every year school bus accidents result in catastrophic accidents and injuries–many of them avoidable or preventable. Recent statistics distributed by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration assess the number of accidents every year that impact the lives of American schoolchildren.

There are a number of reasons why school buses can be unsafe for children. In addition to the fact that children do not wear seat belts on most buses, the sheer number of passengers can create a hazard. In addition to the dangers to occupants, other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists have also become victims of school-bus related accidents. The size of the vehicle can cause significant damage to other vehicles and visibility may be restricted for drivers. Our Charlotte child injury attorneys are experienced in helping the victims of school bus related accidents recover compensation.

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has collected data involving the number of accidents involving school transportation. According to reports, a school transportation-related crash either involves directly or indirectly a school bus or a non-school bus that is functioning to transfer children. These accidents may involve a school bus that is responsible for taking children to and from school or to a special event, such as a field trip or after school activity.

Since 2002, 1,351 people have died in school bus accidents–this equates to an average of 135 fatalities every year. Children crossing the street in front of a bus were particularly vulnerable to fatal accidents. Two-thirds of the school aged children who died in school bus accidents were struck by buses. There were 236 pedestrians killed by school buses since 2002. Tragically, forty percent of these pedestrian victims were between the ages of 5 and 7.

School bus drivers who are not properly screened can also be a risk to child passengers. Accidents may be caused by fatigued drivers, distracted drivers, drunk bus drivers, or a driver that has simply not been properly trained to operate a school bus. School bus accidents may occur when a bus strikes a fixed object, overturns, or collides with another vehicle. These accidents can be fatal: between 2002 and 2011, 82 accidents caused the death of at least one child occupant.

If your child is injured on a school bus, it is important to involve an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An independent investigation can help to determine the cause of the accident and identify all responsible parties. A school bus accident may be caused by a negligent driver, a vehicle in disrepair, or defective vehicle parts. Depending on the cause of the accident, various individuals or entities may be held accountable for all injuries or fatalities. Whether by settlement or jury verdict, victims may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, long-term care needs, rehabilitation, lost wages or the death of a loved one.
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