Articles Posted in Bus Accident

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The boy was just 14 when a Broward mass transit bus pulled away from its parked position while his hand was caught in the door. His mother watched in horror as the bus partially ran over her son. 

Now, he’s an 18-year-old forever changed by that day. He suffered a traumatic brain injury that has rendered him permanently disabled. He suffers from neurocognitive disorder, adjustment disorder, auditory processing disorder, difficulty with speed and memory processing, deficits in motor dexterity and a number of physical limitations.

Recently, the county commissioners agreed to pay the family $850,000 in a settlement that will allow them to avoid trial. Of that amount, $300,000 will be paid immediately, as that is the maximum allowable under Florida’s sovereign immunity law. The rest, $550,000, would be paid by the county only if it’s approved by the state legislature, a process that could take years, though potentially made easier by the fact the county has agreed not to fight the claims bill, which has already been filed in the state Senate, but not yet in the House. The boy’s medical bills have already exceeded $650,000.  Continue reading →

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A Palm Beach County woman was awarded $480,000 by a jury after she suffered serious injuries in a fall that resulted when a bus driver accelerated the vehicle before everyone was seated.

Plaintiff attorneys told The Sun Sentinel the county should train its drivers to refrain from moving the vehicle until all passengers are safely in their seats.

Although conceding bus drivers are constantly pressed for time, the safety of passengers can’t be sacrificed just so the driver can be punctual. Everyone deserves a chance to get to their destination safely.
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Federal regulators are seeking to forcibly lower the speeds of semi-trucks, buses and other large vehicles by installed devices that would cap their top speed. The measure has been proposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). It would set the maximum speed for these large vehicles at either 60 mph, 65 mph or 68 mph, depending on the feedback they receive from the public. 

Top NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind called the theory behind the proposal, “Basic physics.” That is, the faster a vehicle travels, the greater force the impact is going to be. When we’re talking about vehicles this large, the potential for damage is astronomical. In fact, regulators say that if this proposal is adopted, it has the potential to save somewhere between 162 to 500 lives every year. That could mean as many as half of the 1,000 people who die every year in accidents caused by speeding large trucks. What’s more, it could reduce the number of serious injuries by 550 or so while slashing the number of minor injuries by as much as 10,300 a year. Not only that, but the agency estimates it could means fuel savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would total nearly $850 million a  year.

Unsurprisingly, some in the trucking industry is not enthused. There has been grumbling about the fact that truckers would need to be on the road longer and this will mean not just reduced profits for trucking firms, but also lower efficiency in many other economic sectors.  Continue reading →

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A Florida bus crash killed at least five people and injured 25 others after investigators say the bus driver ran a red light on a Florida highway and slammed into a tractor-trailer. 

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reports that among those killed were the driver of the semi-truck, a 4-year-old child aboard the bus and three others also on the bus.

Investigators say both the bus – with 34 people on board – and the semi-truck burst into flames upon impact. The Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office reports that fatalities likely would have been much more numerous had first-responder deputies not boarded the bus and started pulling victims off before the bus became fully engulfed in flames.  Continue reading →

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Bus accidents are relatively rare, but the rate tends to be higher with commercial companies that require drivers to travel long distances, often overnight.

Driver fatigue is a major problem in the industry – which is popular for Orlando tourists – and it’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets limits on driver hours. It’s the same agency that is responsible for ensuring drivers are qualified, buses are in good working condition and the company adheres to industry rules.

However, the legal liability of the FMCSA for bus accidents may be extremely limited. That fact was further underscored in the recent case of Pornomo v. U.S., before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  Continue reading →

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Officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced that the final rule has been issued to make sure that all seats on new motorcoaches and large buses are equipped with seat belts. The new rule was created to increase the safety of these vehicles by helping to reduce the risks of death or serious injury in the event of a frontal crash and to help to reduce the risk of occupant ejection during a rollover accident.

“Today’s rule is a significant step forward in our efforts to improve motorcoach safety,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Our personal injury attorneys in Vero Beach know there is, on average, 8,000 motorcoach occupants injured each year in traffic collisions. Officials believe that the requirement of seat belts on these vehicles will help to reduce the risk of passenger death by nearly 45 percent and the risk for severe injury by close to 50 percent.
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Whether you are sending your kindergartener on the school bus for the first-time or you are a veteran parent this back-to-school season, you should always remind your children of the importance of bus safety. Often it is the chaos of the new school season, distractions, insecurities, and excitement that can leave children vulnerable to dangerous traffic and bus accidents.

As the summer draws to a close and you help your child pack their bags for school, take the time to remind them of bus safety tips to help protect them this season. Our Fort Lauderdale bus accident attorneys are experienced in handling complex cases involving injury and bus fatality. While not every accident is preventable, we are dedicated to raising driver and student awareness when it comes to bus safety.

Here are some tips from the National Safety Council to keep your children safe while waiting, riding, or exiting a bus.

Stay alert. Children should remember to stay alert when walking to the bus stop or when waiting on the curb. This means no texting or iPods when walking, a serious hazard which has led to countless accidents, injuries, and fatalities on the road.
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He could have (and should have) been fired for a number of reasons. He was a Broward County transit bus driver who had been disciplined 19 times, served more than 30 days of suspension and was responsible for 9 accidents. He was still offered a “last chance” back in 2008. Even after that “last chance” he continued to misbehave and was disciplined 7 more times, according to the Sun Sentinel.

The good news is that the driver’s history with the county ended two weeks ago. The bad news is that he was not fired, but retired instead. According to Broward transit officials, they would have fired him if he hadn’t left. But why wasn’t he fired already?

Our Fort Lauderdale bus accident attorneys understand that there is no room for these kinds of bus drivers in our area. We get on our buses expecting a safe ride to where we’ve got to go. Officials shouldn’t allow this kind of irresponsible driving behavior to jeopardize the public’s safety. The problem is that this isn’t the only Broward driver with a poor safety record. There are others who have been granted forgiveness for their accidents and for mistreating the public. Still, complaints about these drivers continue to roll in and nothing is done. Now, Broward’s disciplinary system for its bus drivers is being looked at by county officials, including the county auditor.

“I think some of them know they can get away with doing what they want,” Tom Cook said, a Wilton Manors resident who relies on the transit system.

The driver retired at the age of 62 making close to $50,000 a year. Not only does his employee file show a number of accidents, but also a number of flareups with riders.

During one of these flareups, he had a woman thrown off his bus because the rider’s daughter was snapping her gum loudly. He had another rider kicked off the bus for whistling.

The truth of the matter is that there is one less dangerous bus driver out on our roadways, but with the history of Broward officials, there are still others out there and surely more to come — unless something changes.

According to national bus accident statistics, there were close to 13,000 buses that were involved in traffic accidents in 2010. According to FARS, there were close to 250 people killed in busing accidents during the year. National officials are focused on improving the safety standards of buses in order to reduce injuries and fatalities. Local officials should be spending more time working to get safer drivers in these vehicles.

As a passenger, it’s important that you make yourself familiar with your legal rights.
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A Broward County bus driver may have some of the best luck — and we’re not saying this because of his stellar driving record. We’re saying it because he’s still got his driver’s license — after hitting 10 cars and already having his license revoked 5 times! Even through a lawsuit, he is still allowed behind the wheel.

According to the Sun Sentinel, this man has cost taxpayers more than $73,000. In a 2009 accident, he even sent a passenger of another vehicle to the hospital.

Our Stuart City personal injury attorneys understand that this driver has given rise to some serious questions for commissioners. They’ve even gone as far as asking transit staff for information on how they handle accidents and what exactly it takes to get fired. Their requests have gone unanswered.

Unfortunately, far too many bus drivers don’t have the best reputation when it comes to safe handling of these mega-buses. According to the Broward transit department’s log of complaints, there are quite a few of complaints specifically about buses, the drivers and even road rage. There are even reports of the bus drivers giving the finger to motorists who are just trying to share the road with these large, commercial vehicles.

In 2012, one woman filed a complaint saying that a bus driver cut her off and forced her to merge into another lane of traffic where she almost got into an accident. She says that she was eight months pregnant at the time and was terrified.

In another complaint, a woman says that the driver was driving her bus as if she were using is as a weapon.

The accident policy in Broward County is one of the most lenient in the area. Drivers are forgiven for their accidents after two years — like they never happened. In Palm Beach and Miami-Dade, accidents stay on driver’s records for 3 years and are considered when determining who stays and who goes (or who gets fired).

Broward County policy states that drivers, who have five “preventable” accidents within a 5-year period, face being let go. Unfortunately, with the driver in question — he reached that limit back in 2007 and he’s still behind the wheel!

Phyllis Berry, a spokeswoman with Broward transportation, says that the department has a clean safety record. Berry says that the driver in question has been sent off for retraining. His yearly wage sits at close to $50,000.

“We’ve had operators who’ve been here 20 years and never had an accident,” said Berry.

But it only takes one.
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The State Attorney’s office is looking into a recent school bus accident in St. Lucie County. According to accident reports, the 56-year-old driver of the bus may be cited with a traffic offense or with a criminal charge. The Palm Beach Post reports that the driver wasn’t paying attention at the wheel when he turned the school bus right into the path of an oncoming semi.

In the accident, an 8-year-old was killed and 15 others were injured. The accident happened just before 4:00 p.m. at the intersection of Okeechobee Road and Midway Road.

Our St. Lucie injury attorneys understand that we put our young kids on the bus and expect them to be safe. We expect bus drivers to practice the safest driving habits and to keep our children out of accidents. Unfortunately, bus drivers don’t always make the safest decisions and put our young ones at serious risks. If your child has been involved in a school bus accident, it’s critical for you to contact an experienced attorney.

The school bus driver was heading down Okeechobee Road when he went to make a left onto Midway. He drove the bus right into the path of an oncoming semi that was hauling sod. Upon collision, the bus was spun 180 degrees and caused the semi to flip over. Students who were injured in the wreck were transported to the St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

One of the students on the bus was put into a medically induced coma. He suffered from serious head injuries.

Officials say that drugs and alcohol are not suspected in the accident. They add that weather conditions were not a factor either.

The bus driver is no longer employed with the St. Lucie County School District.

More details on the accident will not be released until the investigation has been completed.

There are nearly 800 buses transporting children for the School Distract of Palm Beach. These buses help to get nearly 100,000 students to where they’ve got to be each and every day.

Parents are asked to talk with their children about school bus safety. Teach them how to safely wait for the school bus off the road and away from traffic. Remind them that it’s important to stay seated and quiet while the bus is in motion. The school bus is not a playground. It’s important to practice safe riding habits during their trips to and from school and other events. Their safe riding habits will help the bus driver to pay more attention to the road and help everyone to get to and from school safely.
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