Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

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Often we discuss the responsibility of private and commercial drivers to be safe and respect pedestrians crossing the roads or walking on the sidewalks. However, at times it is also important to stress how important it is for pedestrians to appreciate the danger that large vehicles like cars and buses inherently present. Based on speed and size difference, motor vehicles are immensely larger than pedestrians.

For instance, per calculations available by Rush, a 5′ 10″ person should be between 132 to 173 pounds. However, the average weight of a new car in 2010 is 4009 pounds, according to Slate. A bus, on the other hand, weighs up to 33,000 pounds, not including the weight of passengers, per a report by the American Public Transportation Association. This extreme difference in mass is inherently dangerous to a person, and is why we as pedestrians must be cautious around motor vehicles and buses, just as they need to be vigilant of us.

A prime example of this was reported in the Chicago Tribune. According to the article, a man was struck and killed by an eastbound 72 CTA bus in the Chicago neighborhood of Austin. He chased after it and banged on the side of it when he was unable to board in time. A witness, who watched the incident from across the street at a local fast food restaurant, reported that the man and his girlfriend went to the bus stop where the woman was able to get on the bus, but the doors closed before the man was able to board. It began to head east toward Pulaski Road, and the man chased the bus while hitting on the side of it, yelling to the bus driver to stop. The man then slipped and fell, and the bus ran him over.
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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.
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Just when we thought spring was finally here to stay, Chicago surprised us with some snow early in the week. Despite it being late March, temperatures plummeted after a prior week of warmth. Unfortunately, the sudden heavy snow fall caused problems for many travelers on the roads, airport, and trains.

According to a report by NBC Chicago, the snow and icy conditions really caused a rough Monday for Chicagoans. By the afternoon, over 450 flights were cancelled at O’Hare International Airport, and those flights that weren’t cancelled reported delays of up to 90 minutes. At Midway Airport, over 50 flights were cancelled, with others delayed up to an hour.

On the roads, the snow and icy conditions created dangerous situations, especially for morning commuters. Several accidents were reported throughout the Chicagoland area, several of which included school buses. LaPorte County alone received over a dozen calls reporting motor vehicle accidents within two hours of snowfall. Then, a South Central School bus that was carrying 33 students was involved in a crash when it was rear-ended while waiting to turn into the school. A second school bus accident involved an East View Elementary School bus carrying seven students where a car crashed into the bus. A third accident involving a school bus occurred on Orchard Road in Montgomery where the bus was rear-ended by a car. Three other motor vehicle crashes were reported near County Road 400 N on U.S. 35, and another on U.S. 35 near Schultz Road.
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Being a major metropolitan city, Chicago is a hub of transportation of all types. Chicago also acts as an epicenter for statewide and interstate with its two major airports and large train and bus terminals. Bus transportation is widely used by commuters and travelers alike, and these groups have many options including CTA, Pace bus system for local travel and commercial buses like Greyhound and Megabus. Because these transportations systems service large volumes of passengers frequently, it is important that these vehicles of transportation are in their best working order and that they are operated by drivers who practice caution and safety and avoid negligent and reckless driving behaviors. Since these services are so widely used, it is imperative that these companies abide by their legal duty to their patrons by being safe and keeping their passengers free from danger and injury.

When mass transportation operators act with negligence, passengers’ lives are put at risk and crashes can occur, endangering the safety of passengers who placed their trust in these companies and drivers. So was the case early Tuesday when a Chicago-bound Megabus flipped over and caused injuries to dozens of passengers, according to recent articles by the Chicagoist and the Chicago Tribune. The accident occurred as the bus was traveling on Interstate 65 near Indianapolis en route to Chicago. According to reports, the two-level bus flipped on its side. The driver explained that he tried to swerve to avoid colliding with another vehicle that had crashed early, and this overcorrection caused the bus to flip over. One state police sergeant explained that the driver could not see the oncoming accident because of rain or another factor and swerved to avoid.

Many of the passengers suffered injuries from this crash. At least six passengers were seriously injured, and 20 more sustained minor to moderate injuries from the rollover crash. One passenger described how the man next to him was cut and bleeding and that another woman was trapped between seats. Another individual’s hand was pinned underneath the bus. There were approximately 56 people total on the bus, according to the state police. At this time, at least six had to be taken to hospitals for emergency care.
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What was supposed to be an enjoyable city tour for some visitors turned into a hospital stay instead of vacation sight-seeing. According to the Seattle Times, a charter bus and three cars collided on a bridge and the Department of Transportation reports that 11 people were injured in the accident. Nine of the people injured were passengers aboard the charter bus and fortunately, no one suffered any life-threatening injuries, according to the Seattle Pi.

Bus accidents are unfortunately common throughout the country. Illinois is a major hub for bus transportation, particularly in the Chicago area. Many people rely on buses, not just for leisure and tours, but as part of their daily commutes to work or school on public transportation and school buses. What is especially serious about these accidents is that unlike normal motor vehicles, buses transport a large number of people. When a bus collision occurs, this has the likely potential to seriously injure a larger number of people.

For instance, according to the National Highway Transportation Traffic Safety Administration, between 1998 to 2008 there were 414,399 fatal motor vehicle crashes, and 1,409 of these were school transportation vehicles, like school buses. In fact, an average of 19 school-age children die each year in school-transportation related crashes.

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As we have discussed before, accidents involving large vehicles, such as buses and trucks, can be extremely dangerous due to their large size, both in height and weight. When a collision occurs with these vehicles, the damage is more often than not greater than a collision with a regular-sized passenger vehicle. As a result, the potential for serious personal injuries is even greater.

However, there are times when collisions with large vehicles can actually be even worse. While such collisions are already dangerous, the propensity for serious and permanent injuries, or even death, heightens when such a collision turns into a rollover accident. According to www.safecar.gov, a website by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rollover accidents are dangerous and have a higher fatality rate than other types of crashes. In fact, rollover crashes account for 33% of all motor vehicle accident passenger fatalities. More than 10,000 people are killed in rollover crashes each year. Such accidents are more likely to occur with tall and narrow vehicles.

According to recent reports by the Quincy Journal, a recent rollover bus accident sent 27 people to the hospital. Out of 30 students on the bus, 26 required immediate medical attention. As of now, 6 of them are still hospitalized. The injuries ranged from minor to so severe, that some victims had to be transported to the surgical floor, which exemplifies how serious accidents, particularly rollovers, involving large vehicles can be.

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Our attorneys consistently stress that when getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, drivers need to not only worry about themselves, but also accept a legal responsibility to keep others safe on the road by not being negligent drivers. It is the legal duty of drivers to not be the cause of preventable motor vehicle accidents, which cause personal injuries to others. Where a driver knowingly creates a danger and the possibility for an accident (such as through excessive speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or texting and driving), and a crash does result, that driver can be held liable in court for negligence.

Negligent drivers need to consider that their carelessness or reckless driving not only puts themselves at risk of injury but places many other drivers and passengers on the road and danger too. Such negligence can often impact large groups of people when collisions occur with modes of public transportation or in multi-vehicle crashes. Sometimes, these drivers do not think about the extent of the danger that their carelessness could create. A driver needs to only lose focus momentarily to cause injuries or death for others.

This is especially true when driver negligence causes accidents with larger vehicles, such as buses, posing danger to many more people. According to reports by KWQC, students were injured in a collision between a car and their school bus near Monmouth, Illinois. The Warren County crash occurred as students were on their way to school for the day on U.S. 67. According to the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, a car that was headed north lost control on the snowy road and crossed the line into the path of the school bus. The car then slid off of the road, injuring the driver and passenger. After the accident, several students had to be treated for back and neck pains, and one was sent home from school after a persistent headache. The driver of the car was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident.

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People living in and around Chicago frequently rely on public transportation for their travels for work, errands, and leisure. Thousands ride public transportation in the Chicago area every day, and these patrons have a legal right to safety as paying customers of these modes of transportation. Whether riding on the CTA, Metra, Amtrak, or Pace, commuters deserve to be protected from dangers, which means that the transportation providers should have proper safeguards and policies in place. Operators must also use their utmost caution and focus when operating these vehicles. When a company or employee fails in this duty, they run the risk of impacting a significant number of people at one time and putting them in danger of personal injuries or death.

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, a Pace bus and two cars collided in Will County near Lockport. As a result of this crash, one person died and three others were injured. According to the Lockport Fire Department, a Kia that was headed eastbound crossed into the westbound lanes and collided head-on with a Pace bus, then struck another vehicle. The driver of the Kia later died from accident related injuries. A man trapped inside the other vehicle was critically injured. As for the Pace bus, the driver and a passenger needed medical attention for personal injuries. The Romeoville police are still investigating this crash.

Although it does not sounds like the Pace driver is to blame for contributory negligence in this motor vehicle accident, our attorneys stress the importance of driver safety because our area is a major hub for all types of public transportation. A passenger should be able to trust that a bus driver or train operator will be focused, attentive, well-rested, and safe drivers and that the bus itself is in good working condition. Where a driver and the company fail in these aspects and cause a bus accident, they can be held liable for negligence.

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The family of a young Chicago woman who was struck and killed by a large tour bus in Chicago back in May of 2011 has settled in connection with their wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the young woman, who was 26 years old at the time of the bus accident, was leaving work in the Streeterville area of Chicago and was crossing the street at the time of the accident. Video footage show that the young victim was crossing at a green light and at a crosswalk and then also shows a bus turning right onto the street that she was crossing and striking her and running her over. The bus driver claimed that he did not see the young girl in the street and in turn was unable to stop and avoid hitting her as she crossed the street.

Following the accident, the tour bus driver tested positive for cocaine and also his record revealed that he was wanted in connection with two cases relating to child sexual abuse. The tour bus driver also has near 20 traffic violations in the previous 20 years and had only been with the tour bus company for about 6 months when the terrible accident occurred. The driver currently remains in jail awaiting a trial on criminal charges in connection with the accident (a reckless homicide charge) as well as his child abuse charges.

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It has been a chaotic week for officials from Megabus, a passenger service bus company owned by Coach USA, following two incidents of bus accidents on Chicago, Illinois routes that left a total of two individuals dead, and dozens more injured. Nevertheless, spokespersons from Megabus found themselves on call again this week just one day after a 76 year-old woman was killed by a Megabus while crossing the street, as a result of the fact that the coach carrier agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement in an Illinois personal injury case that arose out of a similar incident in 2010, said the Chicago Tribune.

Megabus is a passenger carrier service that operates to transfer persons on routes across the Eastern and Central United States. It is known for its low prices, including tickets with prices that start as low as $1.

Just three blocks away from where the woman was killed by one of Megabus’s coaches this week, on Feb. 23, 2010 a man died when a Megabus struck him in a crosswalk at the intersection of Adams and Desplaines streets.