Although we may think more commonly about car and truck accidents, bus accidents are not uncommon, either. Recently, Greyhound was sued for injuries its passengers sustained while riding one of their buses from New York City to Cleveland. According to news reports, the bus crashed after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. One of the 43 passengers died and many sustained severe injuries. One passenger recently received a payment of $27M from the bus company due to the severity of his injuries, which included an amputation of one of his legs and over 30 surgeries related to other injuries.
Highway accidents, especially those involving larger vehicles, can have serious and deadly consequences. Recently, two teenagers in Florida were killed after an RV crossed lanes and hit their car head-on. News reports state that their parents sought legal action and were awarded $10M as a result of the action. Unfortunately, this tragedy is all too common on our nation's roads and highways.
We hope cases like these never occur, but unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world. Just this week, a tractor-trailer driver is under fire for being involved in an accident that resulted in the deaths of several people, including a toddler, in Pennsylvania.
In Perry County, PA a school bus crashed. The bus driver was attempting to avoid a collision with a large truck, which crossed the opposing lane of travel into the bus's lane. The bus was carrying almost 40 students from the local schools. Over a quarter of the students were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. The truck driver was cited for operation of vehicle without certificate of inspection, as well as driving on roadways laned for traffic. Obviously, we hope that accidents like this never happen, but luckily all of the children seem to be generally okay!
Did you ever wonder if and how data on trucking accidents is tracked from year to year? Well, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) keeps data every year on statistics surrounding large truck and bus crashes. Their most recent report is from the year 2015, and some of their statistics are startling! Take a look below:
Earlier this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced they they are planning to survey tractor-trailer drivers to see how long their commute is to their trucking jobs, especially if their commute is greater than 2.5 hours. This survey is part of a larger study that is examining commuting time as it relates to driver fatigue and safety. FMCSA plans to get feedback not only on commuting time, but also work history, schedules, annual miles they drive, and their break and rest periods.
In the Pittsburgh area this week, a section of I-70 was closed due to a large tractor-trailer accident. According to accident reports, the truck went off the road and got stuck between the guard rail and the highway. The driver was trapped inside the car and received treatment at an area hospital for his injuries. At the time of the article, there was no mention of other cars being involved in the accident.
According to a USA Today news report, the time after school lets out for the summer is considered one of the "100 deadliest days" of the summer. Taking data compiled by USAA, the article stated that about 1,000 people die in crashes with teenage drivers on the 100 day stretch from Memorial Day onward. This time results in raising the average number of car accident deaths up by 16% compared to other times during the calendar year. Distracted driving accounted for almost 60% of the crashes.
According to reports via the Allentown Morning Call, Pennsylvania still has a lot of difficulty with distracted driving. According to their article, despite legislation five years ago that banned texting while driving, there has been over a 50% increase in the number of people being pulled over for distracted driving in the last three years. It is a hard position for law enforcement to be in, since drivers are still allowed to use their phones to make calls or to use apps like GPS. Commercial drivers, like truck drivers, can't use their phones at all unless they're placing an emergency call to police.
When you see tractor-trailers moving along our country's highways, you expect their drivers to be safe, alert, and vigilant. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A local New York City news source posted an article a few years ago about the increased occurrence of truck drivers who text and drive. According to the news report, through local ABC news station 13WHAM, "A hidden camera investigation has uncovered a dangerous trend on highways. WABC-TV in New York City set up camera on several of highly travel roadways, catching truckers texting and talking on their phones and one driver even talking on two cell phones at once. The New York State Department of Transportation said nearly 16,000 truckers were ticketed for distracted driving in 2013, but only four of them were suspended and taken out of service." 4 out of 16,000 drivers who were caught texting while driving seems like a tiny percentage!