30 years ago, in Carroll County, Kentucky, 27 of 67 bus passengers, most of them being children and teenagers, perished in one of the country’s deadliest bus accidents when a drunk driver collided with a church activity bus. Because of this accident, Kentucky imposed several laws in an attempt to avoid future disasters; however, accidents still happen.
According to a study does by Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute, 63,000 buses are involved in accidents each year. Of those accidents, 14,000 people are injured, and 325 fatalities occur. Whether you are a passenger or a witness, a bus accident can be a terrifying scene. It’s important to know what to do, how to help other victims, and how to seek justice for what you’ve been through.
Kentucky Bus Regulations
Every state has their own laws and regulations for transit safety. For the complete laws and regulations, visit the Federal Transit Administration.
- Vehicle Condition – Buses are to be cleaned and sanitized so as not to negatively impact the health of its passengers.
- Size and Weight Limitations – Statute 603 KAR 5:071 defines the dimension limitations for buses.
- Maintenance and Inspection – Buses must undergo safety inspections at least once a year. The Kentucky State Police may conduct an inspection of any bus at any time.
- General Operational Requirements – Bus drivers must take into consideration the wellbeing of all passengers.
- Transportation of Passengers – Overcrowding is prohibited.
- Transportation of Passengers with Special Needs – There are established procedures on behalf of the Coordinated Transportation Advisory Committee to provide efficient, safe, and coordinated transportation of all passengers.
- Rail Crossing Procedures – All buses must stop at railroad grade crossings.
- Baggage – Baggage should be stored so as not to interfere with the driver or the safety and comfort of the passengers.
What to Do if You’re the Passenger of a Bus Accident
If you are in a bus accident and are able to do so, call 9-1-1 immediately. Your first priority should be to seek medical attention for yourself and any other injured passengers. Even if you feel fine, it is imperative you be examined by a medical professional. If you choose not to seek medical attention and later discover injuries related to the bus crash, you may have a harder time seeking compensation for your injuries.
Once you have received medical attention, do what you can to document the scene. You’ll want to collect as much evidence as possible. You may want to record the bus company, bus number, and driver information. It’s a good idea to get contact information from other bus crash victims and possible witnesses. You’ll also want to document the location of the accident and the number of vehicles involved in the crash. Take photos of any vehicular damages and your own injuries.
It’s best not to talk to the bus driver at the scene of the accident. The bus company will most likely want to do whatever they can to minimize their damage coverages. Any discussion you have with the bus driver could aid them in doing so.
What to Do if You’re the Witness of a Bus Accident
Witnessing a bus accident can be a shock. The first thing you must do it call 9-1-1. Bus passengers are likely to have sustained injuries from the crash. The sooner they receive medical attention, the better.
After you’ve called 9-1-1, examine the scene. You’ll want to document what you saw as quickly and as vividly as possible, so you can outline what happened for law enforcement officials. You may be able to provide unique details about the event that the driver or passengers did not see.
Seek Legal Counsel
Bus accidents, though uncommon, do happen and can have devastating consequences. If you’ve been hurt or injured in a bus accident, you will need to act quickly to seek a financial award from the liable party. Our Louisville, Kentucky bus accident lawyers can help you begin that process today. Contact us for a free evaluation of your claim.