Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) classifies buses as one of the safest forms of transportation for passengers in the United States, the safety does not extend to people not on the bus. The FMCSA reported that the country experiences over 50,000 bus accidents every year, resulting in thousands of injuries and fatalities. The sheer magnitude of buses makes them a serious and potentially deadly threat to Maine motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and bystanders. In some instances, bus passengers may suffer injuries and death as well. Despite the training that bus drivers must complete, many Maine bus drivers operate their vehicles without the proper concern for others’ safety. In these cases, Maine bus injury victims may seek compensation for their damages.
Many reasons can cause a Maine bus driver to collide with another motorist or pedestrian. These drivers encounter the same risks and hazards as other motorists; however, the accidents come with much more significant consequences. Although the rate of injury is lower, Maine bus passengers face risk when traveling in these vehicles. The primary risk stems from the state’s lack of seat belts on many public and school buses. Although some manufacturers add seat belts on these vehicles, most individuals do not have access to buses with seat belts, and there are vague rules requiring wearing them. Further, most Maine transit buses are overcrowded, especially during peak travel times. Overcrowding leads to many passengers standing closely together without access to safety handles. If an accident occurs in this situation, the passengers may ram into one another, resulting in more serious injuries.
There are even more dangers to those not traveling on the bus. Most Maine transit buses weigh between 20,000 and 40,000 pounds. As a result, a moving bus generates over four times as much energy than a typical vehicle. Further, the design of these buses often results in many blind spots. This often impairs a driver’s ability to gauge their surroundings safely, which can result in a collision. These accidents can have long-lasting and potentially fatal consequences.