Every day, thousands of residents and visitors to Maryland rely on bus transportation. When using buses to get around the state, passengers transfer their safety into the care of bus company owners and bus drivers.
Bus operators and owners have a legal obligation to protect the safety of their passengers. However, there are many instances where the reckless actions or omissions of such parties can lead to accidents, injury, loss, and death.
If you or your loved ones rely on bus transportation, Baltimore bus accident lawyers want you to know the primary causes of bus crashes. Understanding the common causes of bus wrecks can help determine the best course of action for your bus accident claim.
What are common causes of bus accidents?
Bus accidents in Maryland happen due to many different reasons. Here are some frequent causes of bus accidents:
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has set the blood alcohol concentration threshold for commercial drivers at 0.04%. Commercial drivers who engage in drunk driving risk facing sanctions.
Driving while intoxicated impairs one's judgment. A driver who uses drugs or alcohol will not be able to focus on the road and risks causing an accident. Some of the common behaviors drunk drivers exhibit include:
- • Speeding
- • Reckless swerving
- • Improper merging
- • Turning without signaling
- • Driving abnormally slow
- • Tailgating
- • Driving without lights at night
In most bus accidents, the occupants of passenger cars are more likely to sustain severe injuries.
If you are involved in a bus accident, it's critical to check on the status of the bus driver and other involved parties. In a Baltimore bus accident claim, you will be required to prove the bus driver was intoxicated. Law enforcement officers can conduct drug and alcohol tests to determine whether the bus driver was operating their vehicle while intoxicated.
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Driver exhaustion is a common cause of bus accidents. When bus drivers adhere to demanding schedules, they experience burnout and become exhausted. A driver who's extremely tired risks causing an accident since exhaustion affects their driving skills and reaction times.
Bus drivers in Maryland must abide by federal and state hours of service regulations. According to the FMCSA, passenger-carrying drivers have a 10-hour driving limit after 8 hours of rest.
An experienced bus accident lawyer can examine the driver's logbook, check billed hours with the bus company, the time when the accident happened, and examine police reports to prove bus driver fatigue.
All drivers must pay attention while on the road. Unfortunately, actions like texting while driving, eating, talking to passengers, a wandering mind, grooming, or changing the playlist can lead to bus accidents.
Poorly Maintained Busses
Bus companies and owners have a duty to maintain their vehicles and ensure they are functioning in the right condition. Ongoing maintenance reduces the risk of accidents happening due to worn-out or faulty parts. Routine inspection and servicing may involve parts such as:
- • Brakes
- • Tires
- • Suspension
- • Warning signals
- • Lights
- • Steering mechanisms
Bus companies and owners who disregard the maintenance and repair of their buses may be held liable for damages resulting from accidents.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions
Drivers should exercise caution when driving in adverse climate conditions to prevent accidents. Failure to take appropriate measures puts all road users at risk. Rain, snow, fog, and high winds are weather conditions that risk bus accidents in Baltimore, MD.
Negligence by a bus driver during adverse weather conditions can lead to severe injuries or death. Drivers should ensure they use their driving skills, training, and common sense to protect passengers and other road users. If unfavorable weather conditions led to your crash, a bus crash lawyer can help you file an insurance claim to get compensation for your injuries.
Vision or Hearing Loss
Dangerous roads in Maryland also lead to bus accidents. An unfixed road defect poses a danger and risks the lives of road users. Some of the common defects that lead to bus accidents include:
- • Potholes
• Cracked or uneven pavements
• Obstacles on the road, like fallen trees
- • Weak guardrails
- • Faulty traffic lights
- • Inadequate street lighting
- • Lack of bumps
Road defects can cause a bus driver to lose control. Reputable bus accident lawyers in Baltimore can help you identify the government agency or contractor responsible for maintaining the road. Lawyers can also prove that the agency breached its duty of care which led to the bus accident and your injuries.
Most bus fires arise from the engine compartment. Oil leakages from a faulty engine may cause bus flames, making it difficult for passengers to get out.
Bus tires may also cause fires, which can be particularly dangerous. Under-inflated tires may experience heat buildup when a bus is driven at high speeds. Such scenarios may result in a fire that leaves passengers and other road users nursing severe burn injuries.
Sometimes, bus drivers may do everything right and still end up in accidents. Negligence from other drivers or road users can also lead to bus crashes.
Other drivers operating vehicles, like passenger cars and trucks, must obey federal and state traffic laws. They should realize that buses are large vehicles that may have a hard time slowing down. If they engage in reckless actions, like drunk driving, speeding, or distracted driving, they may cause a bus to lose control.
Pedestrians and cyclists must also obey traffic laws and not risk the lives of road users. They should cross the road at designated zones and obey right-of-way rules.
Experienced Baltimore Bus Accident Lawyers for Your Personal Injury Claim
Establishing the cause of your accident and liable parties can be complicated. With the help of a bus accident law firm near Baltimore, you can find out what led to your accident. If you or someone you care about has been hurt in a bus accident, you may be eligible for compensation.
An experienced bus accident attorney can help you get compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and emotional trauma. D'Amore Personal Injury Law is ready to help you with your bus accident claim. Our bus accident lawyers are prepared to guide you throughout the insurance claim process and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to find out if you have a valid claim.