People who have been reading this blog know that there has been a frighteningly large number of bus crashes in California and across the U.S. so far in 2013. The most recent bus-related tragedy occurred in North Texas earlier this month, when a bus carrying 40 senior citizens from an Oklahoma casino abruptly and unexpectedly swerved off of the highway, into a median, and tipped over on its side. In total, 16 passengers were seriously injured and two passengers were killed.
While the fallout of a car accident can be fatal, there are a number of factors that make bus accidents that much more dangerous. For one, a bus usually has many more passengers, and, in most cases, they are not properly restrained. While California and most other states have mandatory seat belt laws for car passengers, bus riders generally do not wear seatbelts, which can greatly increase the potential for serious injuries or death.
Because driving a multi-ton passenger bus is a serious responsibility, many people were shocked to find out that the driver in this incident actually had a driving record, and was once charged with criminally negligent homicide after hitting and killing a man. In that incident 15 years ago, the man was also driving a bus.
Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the accident, and have yet to figure out exactly how it occurred. In the meantime, a large group of senior citizen victims face serious medical expenses and long painful recoveries. These victims, and the families of those who were killed, should be able to bring civil lawsuits against the driver and the transportation company, who could be liable for compensating the victims for their losses, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.
Source: U-T San Diego, “Driver in Texas bus wreck also drove in ’98 crash,” Danny Robbins, April 12, 2013