Bus crashes may not be as common on the roadways as crashes involving smaller vehicles, but they can be catastrophic for everyone involved. Because buses are so large and carry so many people, severe injuries and extreme financial loss are likely. As a result, these accidents often lead to lawsuits.
When reviewing bus crashes, both government authorities and legal professionals try to understand why these crashes occur. Determining the cause of the crash is necessary in order to create legislation that reduces the number of bus accidents, as well as to assign blame for legal purposes after a specific accident occurs. Recent research shows that one of the most common contributing factors in these situations is driver fatigue.
Acute Sleep Deficit Leads to Fatal Accidents
According to the Texarkana Gazette, acute sleep deficit was responsible for a bus accident that resulted in almost 40 injuries and a total of nine deaths in 2016. The driver of the bus veered off the road, which was wet at the time. When he noticed the error, he applied the brakes quickly and overcorrected, which caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Although the driver himself had minor injuries, the collateral damage was significant.
Reports following the accident indicate that the driver had slept very little in the hours before the crash. He had also been scheduled to drive more than his allowable hours. Although other factors, such as poor windows on the bus, may have also contributed to injuries and fatalities, it is clear that the driver’s exhaustion was one of the primary issues.
Why Is Driver Fatigue a Problem?
When a bus driver has driven too many hours and/or hasn’t gotten enough sleep, he or she is a danger behind the wheel. Fatigued drivers may not be paying as much attention to the road, which makes accidents more likely. Fatigued drivers also have slower reaction times, and they may even fall asleep while driving. All of these issues increase risks for the passengers on the bus, other drivers and passengers on the road, pedestrians and the bus drivers themselves.
Because of the dangers of driver fatigue, both lawmakers and owners of bus companies have taken steps to prevent fatigued drivers from operating vehicles on the road. However, some bus companies may be less careful to avoid driver fatigue than others. In addition, some drivers may take control of a vehicle even when laws and/or company policies indicate that they should not.
Help for Victims of Bus Accidents
Driver fatigue is not the only possible cause of a bus accident. These accidents may also occur because of driver distractions, lack of driver skill or training, poor maintenance of the vehicle, malfunctioning equipment or even the neglectful actions of other drivers on the road. Regardless of the specific cause of a bus accident, anyone who is injured in the accident without being at fault may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses.
If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a bus accident, you can recover this compensation by filing a claim against the party responsible. Please contact Chip Evans today to discuss your situation in detail and to learn more about the process of filing a personal injury claim.