Major bus accident investigated by NHTSA

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Texas readers may have heard about the major accident out in California involving a FedEx truck and a tour bus which left 10 people dead. The accident reportedly occurred when the FedEx driver went across the median and sideswiped a car and crashed into the bus. Following the collision, most of the students in the bus were able to escape–despite injuries–prior to an explosion.

The National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency responsible for investigating highway accidents, is expected to release a report of the accident within 30 days of the crash. Still, a couple things can be said about the incident from what is already known. Following the collision, an investigation found that a number of students on the bus were ejected because they were not wearing seatbelts. Seatbelts were apparently available, but there is currently no rule mandating their use on motor coaches and other large buses. 

Another issue that is likely to be addressed in the report is whether the bus’s escape windows were recognizable and functioning properly. It is already known that nearly every window on the bus was available to be used as an emergency exit, but whether or not those were in good condition is another matter. Various other details regarding the crash, including the condition of the drivers prior to the collision, are expected to be reported as well.

Needless to say, when a major bus crash like this occurs, it can be a learning experience for all motor carriers. Many regulations governing bus companies are directly tied to fatal crashes, so it isn’t unthinkable to expect changes in bus regulations following the accident.

Those who are harmed in accidents involving buses, large trucks and other commercial vehicles deserve to be compensated for their injuries and losses. Because the issues in such cases often involve knowledge of federal regulations and other changing laws, it is important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who specializes in such cases.

Source: Myfoxaustin.com, “Feds revisit safety rules after Calif. bus crash,” Fenit Nirappil, April 14, 2014. 

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