Every day, thousands of buses carry countless passengers across Maryland’s streets, bridges, and highways. While most bus rides will conclude without incident, unfortunately bus accidents are a common problem in Baltimore and throughout the rest of the state. Crashes, collisions, rollovers, and other types of accidents cause numerous passenger, cyclist, and pedestrian deaths and injuries every year. School buses, public transportation, and charter buses are all equally vulnerable to problems like human error, road hazards, and manufacturing defects.
If you were injured in a bus accident in Baltimore or elsewhere in Maryland, or if one of your loved ones was a victim of wrongful death, the personal injury lawyers of Whitney, LLP may be able to help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering. Medical bills, property damage, funeral expenses, lost income, and other expenses arising from the accident can all potentially be compensated.
Our aggressive legal team has years of experience handling injury and wrongful death claims on behalf of bus injury victims, and have attained favorable outcomes for numerous clients throughout the state of Maryland. To set up a free, completely private legal consultation, call our law offices at (410) 583-8000, any time of day or evening.
NHTSA Safety Standards for School Buses
According to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) data culled from the Federal Highway Safety Administration’s Highway Statistics Series, more than 12,200 buses were registered in the state of Maryland as of 2010. Bus ownership was divided almost evenly between public and private/commercial companies, with public companies owning about 5,400 buses while private/commercial companies owned the remaining 6,800.
Different buses are subject to different safety standards depending on which type of company they are owned by and what they are used to accomplish. Unsurprisingly, school buses are subject to some of the most stringent bus safety regulations in the United States. These regulations are imposed by the NHTSA, or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just a few examples of NHTSA safety standards for school buses are provided below:
- Standard No. 220 – Rollover Protection
- Standard No. 221 – Body Joint Strength
- Standard No. 222 – Passenger Seating and Crash Protection
The NHTSA issues the following warning to bus dealers who fail to comply with these and other federal standards:
“NHTSA’s school bus regulations require that if a new bus [is sold] that is likely to be used significantly to transport preprimary, primary, or secondary school students to or from school or school-related events… it must be certified to the Federal school bus safety standards… If a dealer sells or leases a vehicle that does not meet the Federal school bus safety standards, and the dealer knows or has reason to know that the bus was to be used… to transport students, the dealer may be subject to substantial civil penalties under the Safety Act [Highway Safety Act of 1970].”
Bus Accident Statistics: Deaths and Injuries
Bus accidents are among the most devastating types of auto accidents due to the large numbers of passengers involved. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), in 2012 there were approximately:
- 12,000 injury crashes involving buses
- 23,000 individuals injured in bus accidents
- 250 fatal bus crashes, resulting in:
- 39 occupant fatalities
- 280 total fatalities
However, automotive accidents like crashes and collisions are not the only harmful events which can lead to bus-related death, injury, or property damage. Passengers can also be victimized by violent crimes or property crimes committed on buses or at bus stops.
According to statistics taken from the 2013 version of MTA’s Annual Report, 1.2 crimes occur per 300,000 passengers. While some types of crime decreased from 2012 to 2013, others crime rates rose or remained exactly the same. In 2013, MTA vehicles experienced:
- 30 incidents of aggravated assault
- 1 incident of arson
- 267 incidents of larceny (theft)
- 76 incidents of robbery
- 1 shooting
Public Transportation in Baltimore, MD: Local Bus Routes
Bus accidents can occur anywhere, on any type of road. However, due to factors like crowded streets, aggressive drivers, and a large number of cyclists and pedestrians, large cities like Baltimore can be exceptionally dangerous for bus passengers and others sharing the road.
Public transit in Baltimore, which is administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation, is known as the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). Our bus accident lawyers can help if you were injured while riding any of Baltimore’s public bus routes, including but not limited to:
- Charm City Circulator
- Green Route – City Hall to Johns Hopkins
- Orange Route – Hollins Market to Harbor East
- Purple Route – Penn Station to Federal Hill
- Route 1 – Sinai Hospital/Mondawmin to Fort McHenry
- Route 11 – Towson Town Center – Canton Crossing
- Route 20 – Security Square Mall – City Hall
- Route 97 – Mondawmin Shuttle
- Route 98 – Hampden Shuttle
- Route 120 – Downtown Baltimore to White Marsh
- Route 150 – Downtown Baltimore to Columbia
The FMSCA reports that among all fatal bus accidents which occurred from 2002 to 2012:
- 13% involved intercity buses
- 34% involved transit buses
- 41% involved school buses
If you were injured while riding a bus in Maryland, the attorneys of Whitney, LLP may be able to help. To set up a free, confidential legal consultation, call our law offices today at (410) 583-8000. While our law offices are located in Towson, we are prepared to handle claims statewide. We also represent clients who were injured in car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents.