Ensuring that a bus driver is properly trained is only part of the task to ensure bus safety for passengers and other travelers on the roadways. It is important to understand all the risks bus drivers could encounter while driving in order to avoid serious injuries and even fatalities to passengers.
Whether a bus driver is traveling in Massachusetts or elsewhere, it is important to consider the most common factors leading to a fatal bus crash. What are potentially fatal risks for bus drivers? Distracted driving is a concern for all drivers, and because bus drivers are often responsible for transporting several passengers, taking steps to avoid distractions is crucial. This means not using a phone, eating, drinking, checking maps or doing paperwork while operating the bus.
Speeding is a common factor that could lead to a bus accident. Buses are not the same as smaller vehicles and are often harder to slow down and stop. Therefore, it is important to watch speeds and drive safe for road conditions.
When customers, employers or tour operators cause bus drivers to be behind the wheel for extended periods of time, this could increase the likelihood of fatigued driving. If a bus driver does not take enough breaks or get enough rest, this could lead to an accident.
Other risk factors that lead to bus accidents include using improper GPS devices, failing to be aware of low clearance bridges and underpasses, using the wrong kind of tires for routes the bus is traveling on, poorly maintaining the bus, failing to maintain awareness of bus mirrors that could strike pedestrian or cyclists, blocking or having non-functioning emergency exits and allowing party bus guests to behave unsafely while traveling on the bus.
While this list is not exhaustive, the above examples indicate likely risks present while traveling on a bus. If a bus driver does not take the proper steps to reduce or avoid these risks, this could lead to a bus accident. An injured passenger could hold a negligent bus driver liable for their injuries, making them responsible for the losses and damages caused by the incident.
Source: Cms.fmcsa.dot.gov, “10 Potentially Fatal Risks for Motorcoach Operators,” accessed Nov. 9, 2015