According to the American Public Transportation Association, Americans took well over 5 billion bus trips in 2014. And The Motorcoach Marketing Council projects that 20 million people will take a motorcoach trip in the next 12 months.
With so many people riding them, are buses and commercial motorcoaches dangerous?
An investigation into a deadly crash involving a tractor-trailer and a bus full of students has a federal agency now calling for better onboard safety measures for motorcoaches.
In 2007, a commercial truck crossed a California highway and hit a bus, quickly engulfing it in flames. Eight bus passengers died. In examining the accident and looking for causes, the National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. agency responsible for civil transportation and accident investigation, ruled out reckless behavior by the truck driver.
Difficulties of Escaping a Burning Bus
The investigation soon focused on the difficulties of escaping a burning motorcoach. The NTSB recently concluded that at least two students died due to smoke asphyxiation because they couldn’t escape the bus in time.
Investigators found that poorly labeled exits made escaping the burning bus very hard for the students, and the exits themselves were serious impediments. The bus driver also failed to give either a personal or recorded safety briefing to passengers provided by the carrier. In its report, the NTSB says that if given, either briefing – similar to those provided on airliners – may have saved passengers’ lives.
Are Motorcoaches Designed Safely?
The design of motorcoaches also was called into question by the NTSB. The interiors of commercial buses are inadequate in terms of fire protection, according to the agency. And the NTSB is calling for better lighting of the escape options as well as second doors on motorcoaches that can provide faster and easier passenger evacuations.
Passenger safety may not always be the number one priority of motorcoach companies and commercial bus drivers. When they behave negligently, their actions can lead to tragedy. If you were severely injured or had a family member killed in a motorcoach accident, an attorney who investigates catastrophic bus crashes can hold all responsible parties accountable for their actions.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.