Bus accidents have been in the New York City news in recent weeks. Accidents involving buses raise many questions. Who was at fault? Did the driver not even see a pedestrian? Did the driver of another vehicle cause the accident? Did the bus have the equipment needed to adequately see pedestrians and other vehicles? Was the driver properly trained? Were there any prior black marks on his or her driving record? These are not easy questions to answer, but summaries of recent accidents illustrate these and other issues involved in bus accidents.
New York City Bus Accidents Apparently Caused by Others
Just recently, a multi-vehicle crash involving a school bus, a rental truck and a car resulted in dozens of injuries and the demolition of a popular fruit and vegetable store in Queens Village. Although it appears that the driver of the rental truck lost control and initiated a chain reaction that ended with the truck crashing into the front of the store on Hillside Avenue. There were children aboard the school bus and many were taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment.
In January, 25 people were injured – three of them seriously — when a speeding BMW plowed into a B46 bus in Brooklyn’s East Flatbush neighborhood on Utica Avenue. The BMW had first hit a car pull out of a parking lot; the impact crash sent the car into the front of the bus. Early reports suggested that the driver of the BMW was at fault.
In March, 14 people were injured when a minivan ran a stop sign and hit a B6 bus in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. The injured were taken to Brookdale and Kings County hospitals.
NYC Bus Accidents Apparently the Fault of Bus Drivers
These accidents appear to have been caused by other drivers, and at least one, the driver of the BMW who hit the B46 bus, was expected to face criminal charges. However, other accidents appear to have been the fault of the driver of the bus itself.
For example, a few weeks ago, a pedestrian was hit by a bus in midtown Manhattan at West 57th Street and Third Avenue while crossing the street – in the crosswalk, according to witnesses. She was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition.
A bus driver was arrested in February after he hit a 15-year-old girl who was crossing the street in Brooklyn. She was seriously injured and her leg mangled, according to early reports. Apparently the driver did not see her; union officials and safety experts said that mirrors on many New York City business create blindsports that make it difficult to see people not directly in front of the bus.
In March, a man was killed in the Port Authority bus terminal by a New Jersey Transit bus heading out for Toms River, New Jersey. One of the largest bus terminals in the world, the Port Authority apparently has had a good safety record, with only one previous death reported in 40 years: A bus driver died of a heart attack while idling his bus at the gate.
Bus Accidents Outside New York City
These are only of the most recent New York City bus accidents reported, but similar stories about accidents in other places appear in the NYC news media, too. A school bus accident in Camden County, N.J. injured almost a dozen students. In January, a six-year-old boy was hit and killed by a school bus in south Jersey. A second-grader in Pittsburgh was critically injured when she was hit by a school van recently.
Another recent Pittsburgh bus accident has charges and counter-charges swirling around. Two buses left the station at the start of their shifts, and were racing along I-279, according to some reports. One driver was accused of leaving the scene after the other bus rolled down an embankment. Both are alleged to have been speeding. The attorney for one of the drivers says that mechanical problems were in part to blame and that other buses in the fleet have similar problems with the sway bar.
In March, a school bus in Stamford, Connecticut slammed into a house, sending nine children to the hospital. None were seriously injured, but the driver was suspended pending an investigation.
Block O’Toole & Murphy is a New York City law firm with lawyers who focus on serious personal injury cases involving motor vehicle accidents such as the one described here, construction accidents and other workplace injuries. We have obtained more than $800 million for our injured clients.