Transit vehicles include buses, trains, rail systems, trolleys and other modes of transportation that have hired professionals operating them. Accidents involving transit vehicles can have devastating effects due to the large number of people or large amount of goods the vehicles typically carry. It’s crucial for the transportation industry, including manufacturers, drivers, engineers and mechanics, to adhere to the highest possible standards at all times. Unfortunately, safety is not always made a top priority.
Passenger bus crashes kill hundreds of people every year and injure thousands more. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration joint study on bus crash causation determined the majority of bus crashes involved commercial motor coach buses, which typically travel long distance, followed by transit bus crashes, which follow a regular intercity route.
The Bus Crash Causation Study found that many of the bus crashes were linked to the driver’s condition (fatigue, health issues) and decisions, with inadequate surveillance, inattention, driving too fast and following too closely being the most often cited reasons for driver-linked crashes. Other vehicles and pedestrians entering the roadway, vehicular failure (bus fires, brake failure), environmental and roadway conditions (slippery, wet roads), and roadway design features were also found to be contributing factors to the bus crashes studied.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and a number of safety organizations have called for improvements to the buses themselves to help reduce the risk of injury and death in the event of a bus crash. Better roof-crush and rollover protections have been on the NTSB’s “Most Wanted” list since 1999. In addition, though most manufacturers include seatbelts on buses made today, the federal government has not yet mandated them. That means, unless they are a year or two old, most of the buses traveling on U.S. highways offer no seatbelt protection, further increasing the damage caused in a transit vehicle accident.
Trains have become one of the world’s most convenient modes of transportation, but isn’t without its risks. Some of the more common reasons for train accidents are as follows:
- Lack of Maintenance
- Mechanical Failure
- Human Error
- Weather Conditions
- Track, roadbed or structural defects
Often, when we are investigating a personal injury case, we discover a defective product is a contributing factor. In these instances, the manufacturer may be held responsible for things such as faulty design, missing safety guards or information, or other hazards that result in a dangerous product that may cause harm to another.