Recently in Bus Accidents Category

May 15, 2014

Lincoln County, Kentucky, Officials Vow to Improve School Bus Safety After Accident Kills One Driver, Sends Two Dozen Children to the Hospital

Following a crash that left more than two dozen children injured, school buses in Lincoln County, Kentucky, will be investigated for school bus safety.

school-bus-red-light-655548-m.jpgThe accident occurred on May 7, when two school buses were riding along Kentucky 78 outside of Stanford. When the first school bus stopped due to traffic, the driver of the second bus, Judy Asbery, could not slow down in time to avoid collision. Instead, she swerved the bus into the oncoming lane of traffic and hit a white pickup truck head-on. Afterward, more than half of the 48 children on the bus had to be taken to local hospitals. Fortunately, none had life-threatening injuries, and most were released from the hospital that day. The 36-year-old driver of the other vehicle was not so lucky. He recently died due to injuries caused by the crash.

Kentucky 78 is known for causing a large number of vehicle collisions, but many thought that would change after it was recently rebuilt to be wider and straighter. Although the driving record of the bus driver was unavailable, Lincoln County school officials claim that there were no previous complaints about her driving. Now attention has turned to the safety of the Lincoln County school buses. The Kentucky Department of Education had conducted an audit on the county's transportation department three weeks prior and found that the bus conditions were "inefficient" and maintenance was considered to be "marginal."

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October 2, 2012

Louisville, Kentucky School Bus Accident Sends 51 Students to Local Hospitals

In 1999, the TV show "ER" staged a school bus crash in which the bus overturned near the train tracks in downtown Chicago. Students who were able climbed out of the emergency exit while others awaited medical assistance inside. Some train passengers that rode by the scene while it was being filmed were horrified by what they saw, until other passengers informed them it wasn't real.

Unfortunately, on September 28, 2012, the school bus accident that neighbors and passersby witnessed on Lower River Road in Louisville, Kentucky was not a set for a TV show. It really occurred, and numerous children were injured. It appears that a car with three high school students inside did not stop at the stop sign. Their car hit the bus hard enough that it was knocked over, sending 48 middle school children flying inside the bus. All three students in the car and all of the bus riders were taken to local hospitals, although some of those from the bus were taken more as a precaution than as a result of actual injuries. The only person involved in the bus wreck that did not go to the hospital was the driver of the bus.

This scenario begs the question: Why aren't school buses equipped with seat belts? The fact that the three people in the car had to go to the hospital makes sense because of the vast difference in size between the bus and the car. But because the bus driver who had a seat belt was the only one who wasn't taken to the hospital, it makes one wonder if fewer bus riders would have been injured if they had been wearing seat belts. Some states do require seat belts on certain buses, but it is not a requirement in Indiana or Kentucky.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) addresses this question on its website. It states that about 42,000 people are killed in car accidents in the U.S. each year, but approximately six children are killed when riding in school buses. The sheer size of a full-size school bus allegedly keeps the children safer than a regular car. In addition, the seats are placed close together and have high, cushioned backs to protect children in the event of a crash.

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August 22, 2012

Curbside Buses may be Unsafe for Kentucky Residents

Curbside buses - so named because they pick up and drop off passengers on the roadside instead of in a terminal - have been in the news a lot lately because they have been involved in several serious accidents. A 2011 bus crash killed 15 people in New York, and a driver and passenger were killed in another bus accident in New Jersey two days later. In May, 2012, numerous curbside bus companies were shut down, including three that operated out of Indiana, because of safety concerns.

On August 2, 2012, another curbside bus crashed into a bridge support in Illinois, killing one passenger and injuring several others. It is possible the crash was caused by a blown tire, but the investigation is still ongoing. The bus was run by and was traveling from Chicago to Kansas City, Missouri with a couple stops along the way.

Why are these buses so dangerous? In some cases, the fault lies with the bus drivers. Many of the companies hire drivers that do not have valid commercial driver's licenses, which means they lack the proper training to safely operate a large vehicle like a bus. Some hire drivers that have been fired by other companies because of safety violations. Oftentimes the drivers operate the buses longer than they federal laws allow, causing them to become too fatigued to drive the bus safely.

The buses themselves can also contribute to accidents if they are not properly maintained and operated. Investigators in the August 2, 2012 bus crash are most likely checking the maintenance records of the bus to verify that the blown tire did not occur because of improper maintenance. In Georgia, Megabus has stopped using their double-decker buses until they are all thoroughly inspected. Bus companies, including Megabus, received warnings from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding the importance of the load on the bus and its relation to tire pressure. Companies need to properly load passengers and cargo, being careful not to exceed the weight limit. They also need to increase tire pressure if the bus is at capacity. These commercial buses are now being randomly selected to be weighed at weigh stations to make sure they are not over the limit.

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June 25, 2012

Kentucky Bus Crash Lawsuits Filed

1119802_bus.jpgOn June 6, 2012, a tour bus carrying over 50 children and adults crashed in Hart County, Kentucky on its way to Washington DC. The driver had only traveled about seven miles with the passengers on board when the bus accident occurred. While the accident investigation has not been completed, it appears that the driver was speeding and lost control of the bus around a tight curve. The bus rolled over, causing multiple injuries that were fortunately not life-threatening.

Why would a driver speed around a tight curve, especially in a large tour bus? Some passengers said he was overconfident, refusing to slow down even when several of them warned him to reduce his speed because of the curvy road. Others said he had been drinking energy drinks that may have clouded his judgment. Another reason may have been because he had already driven eight hours from Chicago and he may have been too tired to realize how fast he was traveling.

Whatever the reason, it appears he was speeding, risking the lives of at least 50 other people. As a result, three families have joined together and filed a lawsuit. One child from each family was involved in the bus crash and their families believe someone should be held accountable. They have sued the driver of the bus, the bus company - Southwestern Illinois Bus Company - and Worldstrides International. The claim against the driver is fairly self-explanatory since he was the one that was operating the bus when it ran off the road and his negligence most likely contributed to the accident.

The bus company may be partially liable for the accident for a couple of reasons. It could be responsible if it is determined that the driver lacked enough experience to be driving the bus. Also, if any maintenance issues played a part in the accident, the company could be held accountable. The lawsuit alleges that the driver had already driven eight hours from Chicago to Kentucky and was setting out to drive an additional eight hours to Washington DC. If this is true and the company asked him to drive both routes without resting, it would be in violation of the federal law that states commercial bus drivers can only drive 11 hours at a time. Worldstrides International is the company that organized the trip. Its website ironically claims it is "the nation's largest and most respected accredited travel organization" and that its "programs are marked by exceptional service, a superior safety record, and a personalized approach to educational travel that is unmatched in the field." If they contracted with the bus company that employed the driver that caused the accident, they could be partially liable for the accident too.

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November 10, 2011

Kentucky School Bus Accident Injures Nineteen

911468_school_bus_with_child.jpgOn November 3, 2011, two school buses full of students and adults from Louisville Collegiate School in Kentucky were headed to Mammoth Cave on a field trip when one of the buses left the road and rolled over near Glasgow, Kentucky. Of the passengers aboard, 16 children and 3 adults were admitted to a hospital in Glasgow. Their injuries ranged from broken bones and cuts and bruises to a potential back and head injury. Lawrence Austin, the bus driver, stated that the trailer of a truck hit the side of the bus, causing the bus to leave the roadway and roll down the embankment. The driver of the truck did not stop and investigators initially saw no signs of collision on the bus.

Kentucky State Police completed their investigation of the bus accident and released their findings earlier this week. They did discover some white paint on the on the left side of the front fender of the bus, which confirms the bus driver's account of being hit by a white semi. The damage was so minimal the truck driver may not have even been aware that he struck the bus, so he did not stop. The search for the truck driver was called off just hours after the accident because there was no evidence of a collision found initially and the description of the truck was very limited. Kentucky State Police spokesman Jonathan Biven said searching for the truck would have been like "looking for a needle in a stack of needles."

What caused the truck trailer to veer into the other lane and hit the school bus will probably never be determined. Investigators believe the weather may have been involved because it was raining. Other factors such as the condition of the truck, the weight of the load in the trailer, and the truck driver's driving record and attention to the road will never be known since the driver did not stop and the search for the truck was called off before it was found. Charges are not expected to be brought against Mr. Austin, the driver of the bus. He has no known driving issues and the bus was recently inspected over the summer and had no mechanical issues.

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October 7, 2009

Several Injured in School Bus Wreck

On Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at approximately 4:00pm, a school bus filled with children was involved in a motor vehicle accident with a pick up truck in Pendleton County, Kentucky. Ten students and the driver of the pick up truck were transported to the hospital for injuries they sustained in the crash. Thankfully, it does not appear that any of the injuries are life threatening. An investigation is pending to determine the cause of the crash but authorities do not expect any criminal charges will be filed. For more information on this accident please click here.

Although it is not clear whether the bus driver in this accident acted negligently, bus drivers carry very important cargo and must drive with the utmost care. Also, drivers of other vehicles need to exercise extreme caution when driving near a bus as any accident has the potential for serious injuries.

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September 9, 2009

Bullitt County, Kentucky: Auto Accident Claims Two Victims

This morning around 10:00 a.m. a five vehicle collision occurred on I-65 between the Shepherdsville and Brooks Road exit. The accident claimed the lives of a man and a woman and two others were injured and transported to the University of Louisville Hospital's trauma center.

According to WLKY, James Evans, Jr witnessed a southbound vehicle crossover into northbound lanes striking a vehicle head-on. Mr. Evans, in attempting to avoid the accident was also clipped by a semi-tractor trailer.

The accident is another in a long line of crossover accidents in this area. I-65 was shut down for an accident reconstruction of the fatal wreck.

For more information on this accident go the WLKY 32 News story.

Unfortunately, serious injuries and death are not uncommon in wrecks on Kentucky interstates. Our Personal Injury Information Center contains helpful information for those injured as the result of another driver's negligence.

It is important to know what to do if you are in an accident to best protect your rights.

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September 1, 2009

Two School Buses and a TARC Bus Involved in an Accident Resulting in Injuries

At around 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 1, 2009, two Jefferson County school buses and a TARC bus were involved in an accident. The accident happened near 32nd Street and Greenwood Avenue when one of the school buses rear-ended the other school bus and the TARC bus.

Thumbnail image for school bus.jpgSeveral people were taken to the hospital for injuries, which included neck and back pain. Among those that sought treatment were the drivers of the school buses and passengers on the TARC bus. Fortunately, no children were aboard the school buses at the time of the accident.

With school back in session in Jefferson County, the presence of buses on Louisville Metro roads has increased. The increase of school buses along with the presence of TARC transportation raises the important issue of bus safety. While a rear end collision can cause serious problems for automobile drivers, these collisions have the potential for even more serious problems for drivers and passengers of buses.

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