Bus Accidents In Queens

Statistics Involving Vehicle and Carrier Type

Nearly 63,000 buses are involved in traffic accidents each year, including 325 with a fatal injury, 14,000 with a non-fatal injury and 48,000 that result in property damage only.  Compared to other types of vehicles, the proportion of bus crashes is quite small.  For example, 444,000 trucks are involved in traffic crashes each year, along with 4 million light vehicles and 6.6 million passenger cars.  Of the 375 people killed in bus crashes annually, 50 are bus occupants (including drivers), 100 are pedestrians and bicyclists, and 225 are occupants of other vehicles.  Bus accident deaths represent a fraction of the estimated 5,500 fatalities occurring in truck-related crashes and the 43,000 annual fatalities that occur in all traffic accidents combined.

Types of Collisions

The principal types of collisions involving buses include front, back, angle, sideswipe, and collision with a fixed object, pedestrian or other bystander.  Front and angle collisions cause high fatality and injury rates as well as higher property damage costs than rear collisions.  Sideswipes involve the lowest rates of fatality and injury, possibly because there is less impact at the point of contact than in other types of collisions.  The highest fatality rate occurs during a collision with a fixed object and when pedestrians and other bystanders are struck and killed by buses.

Crashes by Bus Type

The majority of buses involved in fatal crashes are either school or transit buses.  Combined, these two types of buses account for more than 70% of all bus accident fatalities.  Of 2,269 people killed in traffic crashes involving buses from 1999 to 2005, school buses accounted for 938  and transit buses for 778.  Although school and transit bus crashes produce the highest number of fatalities, only a small proportion of these deaths occur to actual occupants of the bus.  Specifically, only 8.2% of school bus fatalities involve occupants and only 2.7% of those dying in transit bus crashes are occupants.  In contrast, crashes involving charter buses kill 34.3% of occupants while 36.7% of fatalities in “other” (e.g. airport shuttles, buses run by private, church or nonprofit entities) bus crashes occur to occupants.

Driver Error by Bus Type

It is sometimes difficult to determine the extent to which bus driver error contributes to crashes.  In rear-end collisions, the striking vehicle is much more likely to be at fault than the struck vehicle.  In head-on crashes, the vehicle crossing the center line is likely to be responsible.  But, in other types of crashes, determinations as to driver error might not be so clear-cut.

The most common type of driver error in crashes involving all bus categories is failure to yield.  Transit and school bus drivers are least likely to have contributed to a crash while intercity, charter and “other” operators create significantly higher odds of contributing to a crash because of driver error.

Injuries and fatalities due to bus crashes are distressing regardless of the type of vehicles and buses involved.  If you or a loved one has been hurt in a crash involving any type of bus, the attorneys at the Orlow firm can assist you in determining your rights and remedies under the law.