Within the last few days, there have been two bus accidents involving charter buses that injured numerous people. The first happened in Boston, Massachusetts, and involved a bus filled with high school students returning from an outing at Harvard. The bus driver allegedly got lost and was attempting to use his GPS when the bus crashed into a low-hanging overpass, injuring 35 people. The second accident happened a day a later and across the country in California. In that accident, a speeding charter bus hit a car, flipped over, and landed on a pickup truck. Eight people have been confirmed dead, and the total may rise to ten as the wreckage is cleared and additional victims are found. About 36 others were injured.
When you hire a charter bus for an excursion, you assume that the drivers are well-trained, the buses have been properly maintained, and that you will arrive at your destination and back home safely, without the hassle of driving yourself. Unfortunately this is not always the case. In the first accident the driver admitted he was lost and was paying attention to his GPS instead of watching the roads. As a result, he missed the signs warning of the low overpass and many people were injured. Investigators say the driver will most likely face charges in the accident and they will try to determine if he was driving longer than federal laws allow. If that is the case, he may be liable for the injuries his passengers sustained, and the company may be partially at fault if they scheduled him to drive longer than allowed.
It appears that speed was a major factor in the fatal California accident. Investigators are still trying to determine why the bus was going so fast. The driver, who survived the accident, said there was something wrong with the brakes, so that will definitely be considered. A brake issue could mean that the bus company may be partially responsible for the crash if the bus had not been maintained properly; or a product liability issue might make the manufacturer of the bus at least partially liable if there was a defect that caused the brakes to malfunction.