The use of charter buses for tours and vacations have gained in popularity over recent years. Charter buses are part of a larger motor coach industry, which transports more than 750 million passengers each year. Charter buses are certainly a cost-effective means of travel, but they are not without risk.
This past May, a charter bus accident in south Texas claimed the lives of nine people and another 40 were injured. The charter bus was traveling along Highway 83 near the Mexico border when the driver lost control causing the vehicle to rollover. As is often the case in rollover accidents involving large buses, the 9 fatalities were the result of being ejected from the vehicle. An investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed that the charter bus only had seat belts for passengers in the first row. The charter bus involved in the accident was a 1998 model, so it was not required to be equipped with seat belts.
NHTSA Safety Regulations
As of November 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandates that new motor coaches and other large buses be equipped with seat belts for passengers and drivers. The rule excludes school buses and intra-city transit buses, but does apply to charter buses, which fall within the rule’s definition of a motor coach.
The seat belt rule was part of a much larger legislative effort known as the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act (MESA), which was passed by Congress in 2012 to reduce the risk of fatalities and serious injuries in large bus crashes. MESA included new safety standards regarding crash avoidance technology, passenger ejection prevention, and improvements to the structural design of buses particularly when it comes to roof strength.
Charter Bus Accident Statistics
According to NHTSA data, there are an average of 21 fatalities and nearly 8,000 injuries each year due to large bus crashes. In the past ten years, there have been several catastrophic charter bus accidents across Texas. In 2008, a large bus accident in Sherman, Texas resulted in 17 fatalities when a motor coach ran off a bridge and rolled over because of an improperly inflated tire. A charter bus crash in Victoria, Texas that same year killed one passenger and injured 46 people when the driver lost control of the vehicle after falling asleep at the wheel.
You Have Legal Options After an Accident
Much like other types of motor vehicle accidents, crashes involving charter buses are largely preventable. If you or a loved one have been injured in a charter bus accident due to the negligence of another party, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury claim.
Our Houston bus accident lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. have decades of experience handling virtually every type of personal injury case and know what it takes to get the maximum compensation possible. Our attorneys can perform a thorough investigation of your accident to determine liability, preserve valuable evidence, and build a strong argument in support of your claim for compensation.
Contact us today at (281) 283-8500 to schedule a free, no-risk consultation. You don’t owe us anything unless we secure a recovery on your behalf.