The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that there are more than 4,000 registered for-hire motorcoach companies across America. While these buses are convenient and provide reliable and lower-cost transportation in various industries and circumstances, they aren’t without their downsides. One of them is that they are inherently prone to accidents. Suppose you or a loved one were involved in a charter bus accident resulting in severe injury or death. In that case, it’s in your best interest to contact a well-versed South Carolina bus accident attorney as soon as possible.
Charter Buses Are More Accident Prone
Keep in mind that charter buses are more likely to be involved in accidents than some other vehicles because:
- They have a high center of gravity, increasing the chances that they can topple over.
- They are large, requiring more distance and time to slow down or come to a complete stop.
- They acquire many miles, making brake, tire, or other problems more likely, especially if the charter company fails to maintain them appropriately.
Causes of Charter Bus Accidents
Charter bus accidents are the result of one or more of many causes. Determining what caused your accident helps pinpoint who is liable for your injuries and damages. Your South Carolina bus accident lawyer can complete a full investigation to make this determination.
Common causes of these accidents include:
- Driver fatigue – The FMCSA regulates how long bus drivers can drive before they must take mandatory rest periods. They must also be well-rested before they begin their driving shift. Recent studies reveal that driving while drowsy or fatigued can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Unfortunately, these drivers cannot focus their attention on the road and the task of driving like they could if they weren’t drowsy or fatigued.
- Poor bus or equipment maintenance – Charter buses cover tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of miles every year. They suffer a lot of wear and tear and require frequent safety checks and maintenance. However, many bus companies fail to perform the required inspections, maintenance, and repairs due to the desire to save time or money. When such a failure takes place, rider safety is compromised.
- Driving while under the influence – Whether it’s the charter bus driver or another driver on the road, no one should be driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doing so dramatically increases the risk of an accident that could injure many innocent people.
- Inadequate training – Driving a charter bus is different from driving a regular passenger vehicle. Charter bus drivers should receive adequate training and education so that they can provide the safest rides possible to their riders. Unfortunately, many charter bus companies skip providing such training due to staffing and financial issues, or even the lack of time or other resources.
- Improper screening of employees – Not all applicants for a charter bus driver position are qualified. It’s the job and due diligence of the charter bus company to ensure they only hire drivers who are vetted and found to be reliable and safe. Except that, also for lack of time, money, or even concern, many companies skip this step in the hiring process or only half complete it. As such, they leave their innocent customers at risk of being in an accident and suffering an injury while making themselves liable for whatever might happen.
- Improper loading – Similar to semi-trucks, charter busses must be loaded correctly. Passengers and luggage should be loaded and situated in a specific manner. If the charter bus is overloaded or incorrectly loaded, it raises the chances of an injury accident.
- Unsafe drivers – Charter bus drivers are legally required to have a current commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement, along with valid medical certification that verifies they meet the physical qualifications of the job. Additionally, they must have a safe driving record. Disreputable charter bus companies hire drivers who don’t meet these minimal requirements. These companies also may not have policies in place that support safe driving practices—including those prohibiting cellphone use or texting while driving and alcohol and drug testing standards.
- Speeding – Many charter busses must follow a strict schedule. If they get behind, it can cause a chain reaction with the plans of many individuals. Therefore, there is a lot of pressure to keep up with the schedule. However, this pressure causes many drivers to speed or use other unsafe driving practices such as running stop signs or stoplights. Anytime the rules of the road aren’t followed, the risk of an accident increases.
- Driver distraction – Like tractor-trailer drivers, charter bus drivers commonly spend many hours on the road. Despite the fact that they often have a bus full of passengers, it’s tempting to become distracted. Maybe it’s daydreaming, texting, talking on the phone, reaching for items, or paying attention to what the passengers are doing. No matter the type of distraction, distracted driving causes many bus accidents each year.
The South Carolina bus accident attorneys at McCravy Law have represented injured clients and their families in many different types of charter bus accidents. It doesn’t matter what caused your accident or even if you don’t know—we can help preserve your legal rights.
Meet With a Skilled South Carolina Bus Accident Attorney Today
After a chart bus accident, getting the medical care you need should be your first step. Next, you should make it a point to schedule a consultation with a skilled South Carolina bus accident lawyer. An attorney can tell you if you have a potential personal injury case and what your next steps should be. At McCravy Law, we have six different locations in South Carolina to serve our injured clients and their families. These include Anderson, Greenwood, Greenville, Laurens, Spartanburg, and Saluda. Call us today at (864) 388-9100 to talk to our intake specialist or chat with us online. If you’ve been in a charter bus accident, you deserve reliable representation to help you get the compensation you deserve. You will find that representation at McCravy Law.