Fatal Bus Accident Reveals Lack of Adequate Safety Regulations
The fatal 2014 crash involving a FedEx truck and a bus carrying high school students on their way to visit colleges drew a lot of media attention, but what wasn’t covered in these news stories were the massive safety issues that cost 10 people their lives and injured many more. Specifically, the fact that charter buses–which carry a number of passengers–aren’t necessarily required to be equipped with emergency lighting that would automatically activate in the event of a crash was overshadowed. This has become such an issue that states such as California are, just now, enacting legislation that would improve these safety regulations for the large vehicles.
Separate laws have also been passed in some states to address the issue of tour buses not being inspected and this being a serious safety issue, as well as children being left in sweltering school buses after they are parked—with their windows closed—at the end of a driver’s route. Several have called these regulations “common-sense updates to bus safety practices and laws,” which, when not enacted at the state level, leads to many others losing their lives when bus accidents occur.
Florida Transit Rules
Unfortunately, the law is still very much behind when it comes to Florida’s transportation regulations. Each bus transit system is responsible for creating a System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) which contains the basic safety elements and requirements, such as:
- Safety policies & responsibilities;
- Vehicle and equipment standards;
- Operational standards and procedures;
- Bus driver and employee selection and training;
- Driving requirements;
- Vehicle maintenance;
- Hazard identification and resolution;
- Equipment for transporting wheelchairs;
- Safety data acquisition and analysis;
- A wireless communication plan and procedure that provides for the safe operation of the bus and prohibits the use of wireless communication devices while it’s in motion;
- Policy prohibiting the use of electronic devices issued to the operator and any personal electronic devices that could distract him or her;
- Driver education training program on the hazards associated with driving and using electronic devices; and
- Safety standards for private contract bus system, which include at least one inspection per year and the requirement to submit an annual safety certification to the Department verifying adoption of and compliance with the SSPP.
However, when it comes to bus accidents, passengers face an increased risk of being hurt or killed in a rollover accident. In addition, buses do not require the same kinds of safety devices that passenger cars do, such as airbags and seatbelts. This means that the regulations in most-all states–including Florida’s–are still outdated, as they do require some measures to ensure safety, but still do not address the main reasons why people are hurt in bus accidents.
Fort Lauderdale Bus Accident Lawyers on Your Side
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a bus accident, we can help. Our Fort Lauderdale trial lawyers at Friedland & Associates have years of experience helping bus accident victims in Broward, Miami-Dade, and surrounding communities obtain justice. Call us toll free at 954-280-2842 or get in touch online for a free consultation.