Interstate Bus Accidents and Federal Regulations

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Dive into the intricacies of interstate bus accidents and federal regulations with Dressie Law Firm. Call us and uncover the implications for your personal injury claims and legal rights. webp to jpg (3) gif maker
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Everything About Interstate Bus Accidents and Federal Regulations

Around 221 people lost their lives in bus collisions in 2021, and 18,000 were injured, according to the latest data by the FMCSA. These crashes often result in fatalities due to the large vehicle size and high speeds on highways. Several bus safety regulations have been implemented in response to these high numbers.

These laws and regulations help promote safety on interstate highways. However, beyond safety, violations of regulations can be used as evidence in personal injury claims. For instance, evidence a driver broke state or federal rules before a crash might indicate negligence.

However, proving regulation violations and other legal matters may require the services of experienced Atlanta bus accident attorneys. At Dressie Law Firm, we are ready to fight for your right to fair and equitable compensation for your economic and non-economic damages. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

    Understanding Interstate Bus Accidents

    Statistics and Common Causes

    According to FMCSA data, there were about 10,000 injury bus crashes in the United States in 2021 alone. Sadly, around 18,000 of the passengers in these buses sustained injuries.

    These collisions most frequently occur during the daytime hours between 6 AM and 6 PM. About 80 of these buses were school buses involving children. Common causes of major bus crashes include:

    • Speeding – Large buses have a high center of gravity and can tip over more easily at high speeds while swerving or turning.

    • Driver fatigue – Driving long shifts can lead to exhaustion, increasing accident risk. Bus drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or have delayed reactions.

    • Equipment problems like tire blowouts or brake failures – If mechanical problems occur at freeway speeds, the bus can lose control quickly with catastrophic results.

    • Recklessness – Engaging in reckless driving and disregarding traffic rules is a common cause of bus accidents.


    Impact on Victims and Families

    Survivors of major interstate and city bus accidents often suffer severe, lifelong injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and amputations. Their families also experience significant emotional trauma and financial costs from these incidents.

    Federal Regulations Governing Interstate Bus Travel

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) under the Department of Transportation creates and enforces regulations for the commercial motor vehicle industry. Motor carriers operating vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,001 pounds and transporting passengers across state lines are subject to these regulations.

    While most expect these rules to apply strictly to large commercial buses, they also cover smaller 9-15 passenger vehicles and school buses that receive direct or indirect compensation for interstate transportation services.

    Direct compensation involves payments made directly to the carrier solely for transport, while indirect compensation is part of a larger travel package with other services. Regardless of vehicle size or compensation type, FMCSA regulations dictate requirements for motor carriers engaged in interstate passenger transport.

    These comprehensive rules cover:

    • Driver Qualifications – Drivers must hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and fulfill medical examinations, training, testing, and record review requirements (49 CFR 383 & 49 CFR 391 ).
    • Motor Vehicle Equipment & Maintenance – Buses must meet safety standards for features like tires, lighting, brakes, exits, and fire protection. Regular checks and repairs are mandatory (49 CFR 396).
    • Operational Procedures for Commercial Motor Vehicles – Carriers must implement safety management systems, conduct drug & alcohol testing programs, set speed limits, and establish passenger safety protocols (49 CFR 39249 CFR 393, and 49 CFR 395).
    • Insurance Requirements – Minimum levels of liability and property damage insurance coverage are dictated for carriers (49 CFR 387).
    • Safety Act: The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act mandates sellers and lessees of new school buses to fulfill all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).

    Complying with this expansive set of federal guidelines enables bus companies and their drivers to operate more safely across state lines. Violations may result in fines or revoked licensing.

    Changes and Updates to Regulations

    In recent years, several deadly bus crashes have caused increased media and public scrutiny over passenger safety. As a result, FMCSA continues revising various areas of its bus rules.

    Recent regulatory changes include:

    • 2013 – Mandatory electronic logging devices (ELDs) to prevent driver hour of service violations
    • 2015 – Enhanced bus driver vetting and background check requirements
    • 2023 – Upcoming seat belt requirement for all new buses currently under consideration

    Though adding new equipment and policies increases costs for bus companies, enhancing protections for passengers and roadway users is paramount. The FMCSA also works closely with the National Transportation Safety Board on recommendations that emerge from serious accident investigations.

    Legal Implications of Bus Accidents on Interstate Routes

    Interstate bus crashes generate complex legal questions around assigning liability. Multiple parties may share responsibility depending on factors like:

    • Driver negligence, such as speeding, distraction, impairment, or ignoring rest rules

    • Company negligence, such as lack of training of drivers or inadequate inspection and maintenance

    • Manufacturing defects, such as faulty brakes

    • Poor road conditions, including poor or absent signage, potholes, improper lighting

    • Third-party drivers who may have crushed into the bus or caused the bus to veer out of its path

    Violating FMCSA rules, depending on the specific violation, may warrant civil or criminal penalties. Such violations may also constitute negligence.

    Our attorneys can help you identify all potentially liable parties in your bus accident case by conducting a thorough investigation. We ensure your case is built on solid evidence to maximize your chances for a favorable outcome.

    Navigating the Legal Process

    Pursuing compensation after a major interstate bus crash involves extensive evidence gathering, documentation, negotiations, and often complex litigation. Key steps include:

    1. Seeking immediate medical treatment
    2. Working with attorneys to collect crucial evidence, such as police reports, medical records, federal compliance data, witness statements, and others
    3. Calculating damages, including medical bills, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering
    4. Filing your insurance claim or lawsuit before the expiration of statutory limits

    Because federal guidelines shape the standards for safe bus travel, understanding these rules is imperative when building an injury claim. An experienced bus accident attorney knows how to assess FMCSA violations in liability arguments.

    When to Contact a Lawyer

    Consider contacting a personal injury attorney immediately after the crash. This helps initiate time-sensitive evidence collection and negotiations with insurance adjusters. An experienced and knowledgeable lawyer can also support you during your recovery process.

    Our lawyers offer free case evaluations. Learn more about your legal options by scheduling a free consultation.

    Dressie Law Firm Is Here for You

    Personal injury attorneys at Dressie Law Firm are here to help you file your bus accident claim and advocate for a fair settlement. With over 20 years of experience in personal injury claims, we have built a stellar reputation for maximizing case value and achieving the best possible results. Our attorneys provide compassionate, confidential legal counsel to secure maximum compensation for clients.

    Contact us for a free consultation if you or a loved one suffered injuries and damages in an interstate bus accident.

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!