Bus Carrying Students from Disney World Crashes
On early Tuesday morning of March 13th, a bus operated by private charter company First Class Tours carrying band students who had just performed at Disney World fell into a 50-foot ravine near the Alabama-Florida line, killing the bus driver and injuring several of the students. The bus reportedly struck a bridge support when it landed in the ravine, and came to rest on one side down. Passengers had to be pulled out by ropes or via rappelling from the fire department or law enforcement and be carried via helicopter to emergency rooms.
The accident is reportedly now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. According to safety records, this same bus company has been involved in four crashes in just the last two years, where at least one of these accidents involved a fatality.
In this particular accident, the bus’ front axle appeared to have been separated from the vehicle, but the bus was also reported to have driven into the median and then into the ravine. Ten different hospitals received all of the various injured students and adults, where one patient now remains in critical condition, and five in serious condition. Many additional passengers were also injured.
Accidents like these involving long-distance charter buses are often due to driver fatigue versus equipment failure or dangerous road conditions. If the accident is due to negligence on the part of the bus driver, those injured could file a claim against the charter company that owns the bus.
Florida Law – Charter Buses
Under Florida law, commercial and private charter buses owe passengers and the general public a higher legal duty of care. This means that they must do everything possible to ensure the safety of those passengers they are transporting, including by maintaining equipment properly and ensuring that their drivers are properly trained. This is very important, as bus accidents can not only cost lives, but they can lead to lifelong debilitating conditions and catastrophic injuries.
If you drive a commercial motor vehicle, you must follow the hours-of-service regulations. They are 15-hour on-duty limit, 10-hour driving limit, and 60/70-hour duty limit. Thus, for example, if you come to work at 6am (after supposedly having eight continuous hours off), work for seven hours, take one hour off, and then work another eight hours until 10pm, you have a total of 15 on-duty hours, and you cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle after 10pm. Similarly, you are allowed 10 hours of driving time after eight consecutive hours off duty: Once you have driven a total of 10 hours, you have reached the driving limit, and must then be off-duty for another eight consecutive hours.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida Bus Accident Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been in a bus accident, contact our experienced Florida bus accident attorneys today to find out how we can help. The team at Friedland & Associates is eager to assist you today.