A deadly charter bus crash on the interstate recently took the lives of six people and injured several more in North Little Rock. The charter bus was traveling from Michigan to Texas when the crash occurred. It happened around 1:00 a.m. this morning on Interstate 40 in North Little Rock. The bus reportedly left the roadway and hit the North Hills overpass. There were 22 people on board the bus at the time of the accident. Six individuals were pronounced dead at the scene and six individuals were treated at local hospitals.
State Police found that the charter bus collided with one of the barriers on North Hills and proceeded to travel a few hundred feet more before stopping on Interstate 40. Because the individuals on board were traveling from Michigan to Texas, the Red Cross has stepped in to provide shelter to those on board. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) is also conducting an investigation of the facts surrounding this horrific interstate accident.
The bus had a logo that read “Continental,” however it was confirmed by State Police that the Continental owner recently sold to a company in Florida. The new owner reportedly employs approximately 400 people.
Drivers operating this type of bus are required to have a passenger CDL license. It is ultimately the responsibility of the company to ensure that a company’s drivers meet all requirements and abide by safety standards. In Arkansas, a bus company must exercise a high degree of care to ensure the safety of its passengers. The company’s driver must exercise care when driving and the company must make sure the driver is qualified and properly trained. In addition to the driver and the company, businesses that hire these companies to transport their customers may also be held responsible if an accident occurs.
Determining who is liable for a bus accident injury is very important. Oftentimes, there is not enough insurance to cover the damages sustained by the injured people. In Arkansas there are specific laws in place regarding bus accidents, therefore a bus accident attorney should be consulted as soon as possible to make sure all possible responsible parties and insurance companies are investigated.
In 2013 a major tour bus in California and a major tour bus in Massachusetts were involved in accidents, causing injury to several passengers. Eight people were reportedly killed in the bus crash in California. Research in 2011 by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding bus accidents cite commercial motor vehicles and buses have an increased likelihood of being involved in a fatal crash per each registered vehicle, though the injured victims are oftentimes pedestrians, bicyclists, or in other vehicles. Occupants and drivers of busses are believed to be in a position of more safety in the accident. In 2009, it is reported that the fatality rate of occupants of a bus was 45 deaths for each 100,000 crashes compared to 251 deaths for each 100,000 crashes for occupants of regular passenger vehicles. Between the years 2005 and 2010, the number of motorcoach crashes on average per year was 1,003. Thirty-two of the accidents resulted in fatalities, causing 44 deaths; 505 were reported as nonfatal accidents and 467 of accidents had only property damage.
Switching gears, when it comes to school buses, according to the American School Bus Council (ASBC), a school bus is designed to be more safe than a passenger vehicle. Of course human error, combined with other various factors, often lead to accidents, no matter how safe the vehicle may be. School buses today are tougher than ever, and the drivers are specially trained in safe driving practices, medical procedures, and security. Drivers also are required to undergo alcohol and drug testing on a regular basis, and driving records are checked regularly as well. Traffic laws involving school buses are strictly enforced to ensure the protection of the students.
The ASBC reports riding in a school bus is 50 times safer than riding in a vehicle being driven by a teenager. Interestingly enough, the ASBC also reports that according to statistics a child is safer riding to school on the bus than riding in a car with a parent. To read more facts about the safety of school buses verses passenger vehicles visit the American School Bus Council’s website.
Scene photos: Charter Bus Accident Along NLR, THV11, November 6, 2015
Six Dead in Charter Bus Accident Along I40 in NLR, THV 11, November 6, 2015