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.
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.
Witness accounts indicate a 36-year-old passenger seated in the front row of the bus jumped into the driver’s seat to apply the brakes and get the vehicle back in the correct lane. His wife and child were on board, and he called it one of the most terrifying moments of his life.
As a result of the collision, a passenger in the smaller vehicle was killed. The driver, her husband, also sustained injuries, as did the couple’s two grandchildren, ages 12 and 13, who were in the backseat.
At the time of the collision, the bus was just minutes from its final destination.
Now, the 23-year-old bus driver, who was ejected as a result of the impact, is facing criminal charges, which include misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless driving and reckless driving.
Our Charlotte bus accident attorneys would surmise that the survivors of the woman killed and those who were injured will have a strong case for asserting negligence and liability against the driver, as well as the motor coach company that hired him.
Employers are generally vicariously liable for the actions of their employees, and there could be an assertion of direct negligence if there is any indication the driver violated the statutory hours of service limits for commercial drivers.
Technically, it’s possible the bus could have made it from Queens to Fayetteville in under 10 hours, which would have the driver still under the maximum 10-hour driving limit. However, that would assume there were not breaks and the driver had at least eight hours off prior to starting that shift.
This is something plaintiffs’ attorneys will need to closely analyze.
The National Transportation Safety Board reports that about 241 million trips are taken by motor coach annually, and that buses and other commercial motor vehicles have a higher likelihood of a fatal accident involvement per registered vehicle.
While buses are involved in a relatively small number of the total accidents (0.6 percent), the number of deadly accidents per million miles is 3.04, comparable to the car accident rate of 3.21.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
Bus driver from New York City charged in North Carolina crash that killed woman, Aug. 3, 2015, ABC7NYC.com
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Cordova v. City of Los Angeles – Median Trees a Roadway Danger, Aug. 20, 2015, Charlotte Bus Accident Lawyer Blog