An Amtrak passenger bus carrying 24 people veered off the road, hit a tree and rolled down and embankment injuring many of its 24 passengers. According the California Highway Patrol, the accident happened at 5:45 a.m. on the Pacific Coast Highway near Alisos Canyon Road.
The bus was traveling 55 mph in foggy and wet road conditions, and the driver of the bus was arrested at the scene for suspicion of DUI, but it’s unknown what led to the bus leaving the road. Six of the injured were taken to a local hospital and the rest were treated at the scene. Another Amtrak bus picked up the passengers and took them to their destination.
Bus drivers play an important role in the safety of their passengers and fellow travelers. A single mistake can have enormous consequences because of the number of passengers and the damage a bus can do to others on the road.
In the U.S., around 140 people die each year in bus accidents and over 24,000 people are injured, according to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. While of the injuries, only 15 percent were passengers of the bus while the rest were those in other vehicles or pedestrians struck by buses.
Impaired Bus Drivers
Impaired driving has been in decline in the U.S. for the past three decades, however, the raw number of DUI deaths hasn’t dropped accordingly, and in 2017, the numbers went up slightly. In 2018, there were over 10,000 fatalities due to impaired driving, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year, .2% of those were because of impaired bus drivers. This translates into roughly 200 people a year die because of impaired bus drivers.
What Can be Done?
California law is tough on impaired driving for school and commercial bus drivers. Under California Vehicle Code, any driver who has a BAC of .04 or higher is considered to be impaired for the purposes of driving a bus. A BAC of .08 is the law for other vehicles.
Also, the law gives the California DMV the ability to temporarily suspend a bus driver’s commercial license upon suspicion of driving impaired. This means that when a bus driver violates any law related to driving and alcohol, the DMV doesn’t have to wait for a judge’s order to suspend the bus driver’s commercial driver’s license. Then if the driver is found not guilty of the offenses, the DMV will restore their full license.
What If I’ve been injured in a Bus Accident?
There are several liability issues when someone is involved in a bus accident. First the injured person can make a claim against the at-fault driver, whether it’s the bus driver or not. Then a claim may be made against the company that employed the bus driver—again even if the driver wasn’t the bus driver’s fault. Why? Because the company that hires the bus has a responsibility to ensure that the driver is current with the state’s commercial bus license requirements and passes a background check for past alcohol-related visitations. If the driver is not current or is improperly trained, then the company can be facing a lawsuit.
Do I need and Attorney?
If you are injured in a bus accident, the best thing to do is to talk to an attorney who can advise you on your rights under the law and can evaluate your case. Then if you decide to get representation, choose someone who is experienced and understands the law.
Call the Law Offices of Steers & Associates at 800 824 5416 or click here to contact us online. We have attorneys with years of experience dealing with every type of motor vehicle accident, and we get results against the insurance companies and their highly-paid lawyers. Call us now to even the playing field and get the compensation you deserve.