Everyone has seen them and many people have ridden in them – those charter buses that range from the practical, yet uncomfortable, to the decked out luxury buses stocked with every possible amenity. Usually, when a group hires one of these buses, it is to get to a location safely together, but when there are problems with the bus, it can lead to a terrible accident.
These charter buses are hired out to transport groups of people, so it is critical that they are maintained properly in order to accomplish this task safely. These buses are regulated under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and are mandated to adhere to stringent safety standards. If there is negligence at any level, from the maintenance of the bus to the hiring and training of the drivers, then the charter bus company may be liable for any harm suffered if there is an accident involving the bus. As these large buses travel on busy roadways, the accident victims may include passengers on the bus, as well as people in other vehicles involved in the accident.
Some of the common causes of charter bus accidents include:
- Mechanical failure of equipment such as blown tires and ineffective brakes;
- Driver fatigue – this is a particular risk with these types of charters because the timing of the travel may be erratic and the driver may be traveling in unfamiliar areas, leaving less room for “error”;
- Failing to properly train or supervise the driver;
- Failing to maintain the bus in accordance with general safety standards;
- Failure of the charter bus company to respond appropriately to a driver with an alcohol or drug problem;
- Violations of the hours of service (HOS) restrictions imposed by the FMCSA, leading to driver fatigue; and
- Negligent or reckless driving, including speeding, making improper lane changes, and taking curves at too high of a rate of speed.
When there is a serious accident involving a charter bus, it may be a challenge to gather the necessary evidence in order to hold the right parties responsible. This is one of the reasons why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident because an experienced accident attorney will be able to conduct an independent investigation, focusing on the following:
- Obtaining any documents relating to maintenance of the bus, driver training, employment records, and all other relevant papers;
- Locating the electronic data recorders (commonly referred to as black boxes) with which most of these buses are equipped in order to get the information about the trip and the conditions immediately prior to the accident;
- Locating any GPS equipment in order to determine where the bus was before getting back on the road – many times, these drivers have to spend many idle hours and if they choose to fill those hours with inappropriate activities, such as going to a bar, then it could lead to a serious accident; and
- Obtaining the driver’s log book – although this likely is duplicative with the electronic data, it could show any discrepancies between the two, indicating an attempt to conceal evidence of wrongdoing. In addition, if there is no black box on the bus or it is destroyed in the accident, this might be the only evidence concerning the trip.
Murphy and Associates PLC Works Hard for Bus Accident Victims
A vehicle accident involving a charter bus often leads to many serious injuries for people who were in the bus or unfortunate enough to be sharing the road at the wrong time. If you were involved in a bus crash, or any other serious vehicle accident, the skilled and dedicated Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyers at Murphy & Associates PLC are committed to doing everything possible to get the compensation that you deserve. To discuss your case during a free consultation, please call us at (502) 473-6464. We only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.