When visiting a major city as a tourist, or even being a tourist in your own city, one of the most popular activities to do are taking a guided tour. Chicago has many varieties of tours, both on land and water. People can choose between architecture tours on boats, Segway tours, double-decker bus tours, and more. Because these activities are so popular and receive the patronage of so many paying customers, it is extremely important that these companies have fully operational and safe vehicles that are frequently inspected for flaws and problems.
A recent story by CNN exemplifies how serious a situation can become when popular tourism companies fail to keep their vehicles in properly working order, and as a result, fail to keep their customers and others on the road safe. A Seattle land and water vehicle, known as a “duck,” collided with a charter tour bus filled with international college students. The accident killed four and left others in critical condition. According to emergency responders, after the accident 44 people were hospitalized, with 12 in critical condition. The popular tourism land and water vehicles, the “Ride the Ducks of Seattle” is now closed until further notice, due to this accident.
According to a follow-up article also by CNN, federal investigators discovered that the amphibious tour vehicle had an axle that had been sheared off. The axle broke, which likely could have been a cause of the crash. Investigators found red fluid, likely from the transmission, splattered on the front left wheel well. One duck passenger described how it felt like the vehicle lost control, and she saw them heading toward the charter bus headed towards them. The accident occurred as the duck was crossing a six-lane bridge off of the downtown area.
Even though this accident was not in the Chicago area, it is important to discuss because it is strikingly similar to the busy roads and tourism in Chicago. It is unnerving that this hypothetically could have easily occurred in our city as well. Bus accidents are unfortunately extremely common in Illinois, and throughout the Chicago area, so it is important to examine a story that is similarly situated to events in our own city. Thousands of people rely on bus transportation in Illinois every day, and not just for tourism and leisure, but for work, school, and errands as well.
When someone gets onto a bus, tourist vehicle or mass transportation vehicle, they trust in the capabilities of the driver and that the vehicle is safe and fully operational for transportation. It is unfortunate that many bus accidents that occur could have been prevented had a party not been negligent in navigating the bus or in keeping the bus in good working condition. When passengers suffer serious injuries, they may take legal action to hold negligent parties accountable. Whether the bus is part of public transportation, or a private charter bus or tourism bus, the company and driver owe a duty of care to keep their passengers safe from harm and not cause them injury.