Causes of Bus Accidents

bus accident

At the Law Offices of John Day, our team of bus accident attorneys has been helping injury victims for more than 30 years. There are many causes of bus accidents, but some of the most common causes are:

A. Bus Driver Fatigue

Whether the cause is accumulated sleep deficit, insomnia, sleep apnea or some other factor, a fatigued bus driver is unsafe and is much more likely to make a serious driving error. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a report finding insufficient sleep to be a public health epidemic, in part, because of the increased likelihood of accidents. In a CDC study, the agency asked respondents if they had fallen asleep or nodded off at the wheel in the past month. 1 in 25 drivers over the age of 18 responded that they had fallen alseep at the wheel. The responses are alarming especially when you consider the question only asked about the past 30 days.

To combat driver fatigue, some bus drivers are turning to fatigue warning devices. These devices monitor the driver's eye closure rate. If the device senses an unsafe pattern, an alarm will sound, but not all bus drivers and companies use these devices due to cost and other reasons.

B. Road Rage or Aggressive Driving

Driving is not a competitive sport, but some drivers try their best to make it one. Road rage takes many forms from aggressive tailgating to trying to run the other driver off the road. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports 62% of motorists have been the victims of road rage.  Depending upon the level of road rage, the driver's conduct may be considered reckless, which may entitle the victim to both compensatory and punitive damages.

C. Speeding

Most motorists speed because they are in a hurry to get to their destination. Bus drivers are no exception. With their pre-determined timetables, they are under a tremendous amount of pressure to stay on schedule. When weather, traffic, road construction or something else causes a delay, there is a heavy temptation to try and make up the time by speeding. Because of their increased weight and size, buses have increased stopping times, and speeding makes it much more difficult for them to stop if traffic suddenly slows or stops. 

D. Unruly Passengers

A bus driver has a duty to maintain order and safety on the bus. If a passenger is being unruly, the driver can warn the passengers to stop the unruly behavior, eject the passenger or contact police for assistance. If the driver fails to do so, he could become distracted by the behavior and cause an accident. Or, the unruly passenger might assault or otherwise injure another passenger. As a common carrier, bus companies owe their passengers the highest degree of care, and this duty extends to protection from unruly passengers..

E. Alcohol and Drug Violations

Bus drivers who are under the influence are a serious threat to their passengers and other motorists. Depending upon the type of bus involved, the driver may be subject to random drug tests and may also be required to undergo alcohol and drug tests following a serious accident.

F. Violation of Hours of Service Requirements

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has established strict rules for a motor coach driver's hours of service (HOS). The HOS regulations dictate the number of rest and driving hours for motor coach drivers. By law, bus drivers must carefully log these times into their log books. Unfortunately, some bus drivers falsify their logs and drive longer than is legally permissible. As a consequence, they become fatigued and make serious, and sometimes fatal, mistakes. 

G. Faulty Equipment

Motor coaches and buses are expensive to maintain, so a lot of bus drivers and bus companies cut corners in hopes of saving on costs. But, faulty equipment can be much more expensive as it can cost lives. Our award-winning attorneys are well-versed in reviewing a bus' preventative maintenance schedule and repair history and looking for gaps, errors and oversights. Sometimes, the maintenance and repair work is performed by outside companies and it is crucial to obtain the paperwork from all responsible parties so a complete investigation and assessment can be performed. In some instances, the problem is a manufacturing or design defect in the bus. In which case, the manufacturer of the bus may be responsible. If faulty or defective equipment played a role in your bus accident, our bus accident lawyers will conduct a complete investigation to determine who is at fault and then hold them responsible.

H. Driver Error

Driver errors can take many forms: failing to check blind spots, making too wide of turns, driving too fast for conditions, etc. When a bus driver makes an error and causes a wreck, the bus company and its insurance company will dispatch a team of experts and lawyers to try and keep from paying you a penny. You need to level the playing field by putting our resources and capabilities to work for you.

I. Distracted Driving

Incredibly, some bus drivers choose to risk the lives of their passengers and the lives of other motorists by texting while driving, eating while driving, adjusting navigation devices, talking on their cellphones, etc. Under Tennessee law, all drivers, including bus drivers, are strictly prohibited from texting while driving. School bus drivers are also banned from talking on their cellphones while the bus is in motion or transporting children. Yet, some bus drivers simply do not take these laws seriously and tragic accidents can result.  Cellphone companies are only required to keep activity records for a limited period of time, and this data might be crucial in proving the bus driver was texting or talking on the phone at the time of the accident. 

To get started on your bus accident case, call us at one our three Middle Tennessee locations.  We are centrally located so we can help injury victims across the State of Tennessee.

Nashville: 615-669-3993

Murfreesboro: 615-867-9900

Brentwood: 615-742-4880

Toll-Free: 866-812-8787

Other Bus Accident Information:
Client Reviews
Everything was great. You guys are a great representative. I was satisfied with everything. Truly appreciate John Day and his hard-working staff. Jamar Gibson
We thought that you did an excellent job in representing us in our lawsuit. We would recommend you to anyone. Mitch Deese
The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. is, without a doubt, the best in Nashville! They treated me with the utmost respect and tended to my every need. No question went unanswered. I was always kept informed of every step in the process. I received phenomenal results; I couldn't ask for more. I would definitely hire The Law Offices of John Day, P.C. again. Anthony Santiago
I would definitely recommend to anyone to hire John Day's law firm because everyone was helpful, made everything clear and got the job done. I am satisfied with how my case was handled. June Keomahavong
It's been a long battle but this firm has been very efficient and has done a remarkable job for me! I highly recommend them to anyone needing legal assistance. Everyone has always been very kind and kept me informed of all actions promptly. Linda Bush
I had a great experience with the Law Offices of John Day. The staff was very accommodating, and my phone calls/emails were always responded to in a timely manner. They made the entire process very easy and stress-free for me, and I had confidence that my case was in good hands. I am very happy with the results, and I highly recommend! Casey Hutchinson