Many Americans rely on buses for their daily transportation.
Urban professionals often find buses more convenient than walking and more cost-effective than driving. School children pile into the familiar yellow buses for their daily commute.
With gas prices on the rise, many motorists are leaving their cars at home and using public transportation instead. But as ridership increases, so does the potential for a serious accident.
According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, buses were involved in 1,908 accidents in 2011. Most (1,691) involved only property damage, but 19 resulted in incapacitating injuries and seven in death.
Aside from the everyday opportunity for a mishap, the majority of buses are not equipped with seat belts. Furthermore, bus drivers introduce the unreliable inhuman element into the equation. Simply put, some drivers lack the training to operate such a large vehicle safely.
When it comes to under-funded government agencies, such as school corporations and city transportation departments, buses sometimes operate in sub-standard conditions because of poor fleet management. Renovating the existing fleet is considered cost-prohibitive.
In other cases, maintenance schedules are not followed, leaving buses in dilapidated condition. Finally, lax enforcement of standards also contribute to sub-standard buses on the roadway. No matter what standards transportation officials agree upon, those standards are meaningless without strong enforcement.
These forces, not the rider, will control the outcome of an accident involving a bus. Once an accident occurs, however, the responsibility to act appropriately falls squarely on the rider.
Most importantly, injured victims should seek medical attention immediately. Nothing is more important than your health and by seeking thorough and professional treatment, you can understand the full extent of your injuries and decide what to do next.
A total of 323 passengers (179 females and 144 males) were injured in bus accidents in 2011, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, although no passengers were killed.
A mass transit plan for Indianapolis, including commuter rail, has been kicking around for years. But, when one stops to consider the massive investment such a project would require, it seems unlikely to happen any time soon.
In the meantime, travelers who would rather ride than get behind the wheel will be taking the bus. For better and for worse.
Our lawyers have recently posted a library item that examines bus safety and the dangers associated with being a passenger. We ask that you take a moment to read the article and become familiar with the risks you face when traveling as a passenger on a bus.
If you're a bus rider who's been injured while riding, contact an Indiana bus accident attorney at Keller & Keller. We can provide you with a free consultation on your case.