Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

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Keeping our children safe is our highest priority. For years, we’ve known that safety belts save lives. In the event of a crash, they can reduce the risk of critical injuries and death by about 50 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We make sure our kids wear seatbelts when they’re in our cars, and California lawmakers have required them to wear them on their way to school. However, the law only applies to buses built after July 1, 2005, and safety belts are absent from many Orange County school buses, reported the Orange County Register.

imgres.jpgCalifornia Law Requires Safety Belts on School Buses

Fifteen years ago, a law was enacted in California requiring that school buses be equipped with shoulder-to-lap belts. California is one of only six states to have such a law and the only one requiring the arguably safer shoulder-style belts. School buses in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, and Texas must have lap belts. While 8 states introduced bills in 2009 that would mandate safety belts on school buses, none of them were passed.

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Panama City Beach, Florida, during spring break

Panama City Beach, Florida, during spring break (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thinking of traveling by bus to your spring break destination or taking a party bus around town with friends once you’re there? Be careful. It may prove riskier than any situation-and there are many that come to mind when one thinks of spring break-you could possibly get yourself into.

Across California and the country, you can find story after story of vacation trips taking a tragic turn when the bus everyone was riding on crashed. One of the worst involved a bus accident on a mountain road near a popular ski resort that killed eight people and injured another 32, but there have also been several collisions on local freeways that have resulted in trauma, as well as at least two accidents on party buses that proved fatal.

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Bus Livery Design

Bus Livery Design (Photo credit: pantranco_bus)

Whether we’re traveling to a casino in a neighboring county or further for a vacation or just around our own city for a night out with friends that we don’t have to worry about drinking and driving, we often book trips on buses with the expectation of fun in our future-not tragedy. Across Southern California, the latter has proven to be the case far too often for the riders of motor coaches and party buses. Again and again, investigations into these crashes reveal improper vehicle maintenance and negligence on the part of the bus owners and operators, leading many to question how these companies are being regulated.

Deadly Rides

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Shortly after midnight on Sunday, September 29, 24-year-old C.J. Saraceno was ejected from a party bus and killed on the 101 Freeway just north of Universal Studios Boulevard in Los Angeles, reported the Los Angeles Times . The victim’s father indicates that he was changing the music near the front of the 2001 Ford F550 bus when it turned, sending him through the door and onto southbound lanes, where multiple vehicles struck him. Saraceno was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:25 a.m. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

Throughout Los Angeles County, traffic collisions claimed the lives of 568 people and caused injury to another 71,866 in 2010, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s accident data indicate that collisions involving buses and large trucks killed 529 people in 2009, a decrease from the 749 fatalities recorded in 2008.

Under California law, when the negligence of one party causes serious or fatal harm to another, the victims and their families may seek justice through the civil claims process. To learn more about the rights of accident victims and their families, please call 866-981-5596 or visit our website, www.allenflatt.com.

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On the morning of Thursday, August 22, several people were injured in a tour bus crash on the 210 Freeway in Irwindale. While traveling eastbound, the bus braked hard just past the 605 Freeway and then veered across multiple lanes before overturning, according to witness accounts. The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 50 people suffered trauma, with injuries ranging from minor to moderate. Seven victims were flown to area hospitals. The accident is under investigation.

“Those who have been injured in a traffic accident may hold the at-fault party liable for the expense of their recoveries,” explained California attorney James Ballidis. “In the event of a bus accident, the bus company may be held liable if the vehicle was improperly maintained or the driver poorly trained.”

According to the most current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration accident data, there were 11,000 bus accidents in 2008 that resulted in trauma; 24,000 people were injured in these collisions. The following year, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data indicate that there were 221 fatal and 10,000 injury crashes involving buses.

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At about 8 a.m. on Friday, August 9, five people were injured in a collision between an Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) bus and a BMW sedan in Orange. The crash occurred at the intersection of West Chapman Avenue and South Anita Drive, the impact leaving a passenger of the BMW trapped in the wreckage. Emergency responders transported two people to the hospital to receive treatment for moderate trauma. Three people sustained minor injuries. Authorities are investigating the collision.

“When a driver’s negligence causes an accident that harms others, the driver may be held liable for the expenses associated with the victims’ recoveries,” explained California bus accident lawyer James Ballidis.

In 2010, 7 people were killed and 1,111 were injured in traffic accidents that occurred in Orange, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. Throughout the state, 24,000 people were injured in bus accidents in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

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Shortly after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, June 12, 47-year-old Olivia Gamboa, a bus driver for the MTA, was killed in a crash with a tow truck in downtown Los Angeles. While speeding southbound on Broadway, the driver of the tow truck, 43-year-old Yosef Adhami, ran a red light at the intersection with 5th Street, slamming into the bus and then a 7-Eleven. Emergency responders transported both drivers to area hospitals to receive treatment for major trauma. Gamboa succumbed to her injuries. Adhami, who reportedly did not have a valid driver’s license, remains in critical condition. Authorities are investigating the crash.

“When a family loses a loved one to a traffic accident, they may hold the at-fault driver liable by filing a wrongful death claim,” explained California bus accident lawyer James Ballidis.

The city of Los Angeles accounted for 119 of the 346 fatalities and 31,480 of the 62,881 injuries suffered by vehicle occupants in traffic accidents that occurred in the county in 2010, according to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System. Unsafe speed was a factor in 396 of the fatal and 49,338 of the injury crashes that occurred in California that year. Traffic signals and signs were a factor in 112 of the fatal and 12,799 of the injury accidents.

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At about 7:15 a.m. on Friday, April 12, 18-year-old Ryan Geiger was seriously injured in a collision with a school bus in Lake Elsinore. While transporting three dozen students in a Lake Elsinore Unified District school bus westbound on Canyon Ridge Drive, 43-year-old Jeania White stopped at the intersection with Summerhill Drive in preparation to turn; she observed Geiger’s white Honda Prelude approaching northbound on Summerhill but misjudged its speed and turned, at which point the two vehicles collided. Emergency responders transported Geiger to an area hospital to receive treatment for major trauma. None of the students were injured. White was taken to a hospital after complaining of not feeling well. Authorities do not suspect that drugs or alcohol contributed to the accident.

“When a collision results in injury, the at-fault driver may be held liable for the expenses associated with the victim’s recovery,” explained California car accident lawyer James Ballidis, “such as for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.”

Throughout Lake Elsinore, traffic accidents claimed the lives of or caused injury to 168 people in 2010, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety’s most current records. One of the accidents that resulted in injury or death involved a driver under the age of 21 that year. The OTS ranked Lake Elsinore 64th out of 103 cities for its incidence of fatal and injury crashes in a ranking system in which 1st place is considered the worst.

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At about 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, sixteen people were injured in a bus crash near Yosemite National Park in which speed was a factor. While leaving the park on California State Route 41, the charter tour bus swerved from the road, traveling up a dirt embankment before veering across both lanes of traffic and hitting a tree. Fifteen passengers and a tour guide suffered trauma ranging from minor to moderate in the accident. According to investigators with the California Highway Patrol, the bus was traveling at an unsafe speed at the time of the accident. Authorities are investigating the crash; however, they do not suspect that intoxication was a factor. An inspection of the bus is scheduled in order to determine whether or not mechanical failure contributed to the accident.

“When passengers are injured in a bus crash, they may file personal injury claims against the negligent party,” explained California attorney James Ballidis, “whether that is the driver, the bus company, or both.”

Accident statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that 24,000 people were injured in bus crashes that occurred in the United States in 2008. Such accidents claimed 311 lives that year.

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