In March, ABC30 reported that a Fresno County school bus was involved in a collision just west of Fresno at the intersection of McKinley Avenue and Hayes Avenue. A driver of an SUV failed to yield the right of way to the bus causing the collision. The driver of the SUV died from his injuries. Some of the 48 students on the school bus suffered minor injuries with one student being treated at Community Regional Medical Center.
Are You One of the Thousands of People Who Use Public Transportation?
Millions of people across California and the United States use public transportation each day. An estimated 30 million people travel each day aboard public transportation according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Unfortunately, collisions involving public transportation are more common than some passengers may believe. Public transportation is a service provided by a company licensed to transport passengers for a fee. Even though students do not pay a fee to ride the school bus, school busses are included in “public transportation” for the purpose of personal injury lawsuits.
Forms of public transportation include, but are not limited to:
- Tour buses, public buses, and school buses
- Airport shuttles
- Planes and other public aircraft
- Water taxis and ferries
Passengers who use public transportation have the right to expect providers and companies to take steps to protect passengers. Whether it is a public entity or a private company, passengers should be able to rely on the provider to keep them safe from harm while using their service. If the provider fails in its duty to protect passengers, injury victims may be entitled to receive compensation for their injuries, losses, and damages.
What Are Some Of The Measures Should A Provider Take To Protect Passengers From Public Transportation Accidents?
The school bus driver nor the school district could control what another driver does to cause a collision. However, the school district and other providers of public transportation should take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of passengers. Some measures a public transportation provider can take to meet its duty of care include, but are not limited to:
- Equipment Maintenance – Providing a safe ride begins with maintaining each public vehicle. The provider should have a system in place to ensure each vehicle is routinely inspected to identify and repair problems before problems cause accidents. Properly maintained vehicles have a higher chance of operating in a safe manner.
- Hire Qualified Operators – Operating a public transportation vehicle requires special training. Driving a bus is not the same as driving a passenger vehicle. You must have a qualified operator who is trained to operate the vehicle. Inadequately or improperly trained drivers increase the risk of a public transportation accident.
- Providing a Safe Environment – In addition to maintaining the vehicle and hiring trained operators, a public transportation provider must provide a safe environment for the passenger. Examples of steps the provider can take to ensure a safe environment include hiring security personnel, providing adequate lighting, keeping areas free from obstructions that cause slips and falls, and providing safety restraints (i.e. seat belts) when possible or required by law.
- Recalls – Recalls are issued by manufacturers when a vehicle or part is defective. Public transportation providers need to ensure all vehicles subject to a recall notice is removed from service until the required repairs are made.
The Federal Transit Administration has proposed a new rule requiring public transportation providers to develop and implement Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans to ensure passengers are safe while using public transportation. However, mistakes will be made and public transportation accidents will continue to occur regardless of the rules put in place by the federal government.
Have You Been Injured While Using Public Transportation?
If you have been injured in a public transportation accident in Fresno, CA or the surrounding Central California Valley area, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the liable party. Contact the public transportation accident attorneys of Torem & Associates at 1-800-954-4444. You may also chat with a representative online or use our convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.