Many Chicagoans rely on public transportation to commute both within the city and the surrounding Chicagoland area. Instead of owning or relying on a car, public transportation offers riders the ability to travel for an affordable price. Even if a vehicle is available, many people find that transportation like buses and trains offers convenience and affordability, especially when needing to travel a farther distance away from the city of Chicago.
However, these common carriers owe a legal duty of care to their paying customer passengers. This includes not only having a safe and properly functioning mode of transportation but also driving safely and keeping the passengers free from harm. Abiding by this legal duty is important. While minor mistakes may seem like no big deal before they occur, when someone acts negligently while the lives of others are in their hands, accidents are likely to occur and often do happen. Even moments of negligent behavior can have a serious effect on the safety and well-being of passengers. Where a company or one of its drivers fails in any of these regards (i.e. safe vehicle, safe driving, etc.) and passengers suffer injury as a result, the company and/or its employee can be held responsible through a personal injury lawsuit.
A recent article by the Chicago Sun-Times is a prime example of driver negligence can endanger passengers. A Megabus, heading south out of Chicago, crashed on the highway and injured 19 people. The bus crashed into three other vehicles, one of which was a semi-truck. After rear-ending a semi in the early morning, the bus caused a chain-reaction crash in the southbound lanes of Interstate 65. Police relayed that for unknown reasons the bus driver failed to stop before the front of the bus collided with the rear of a semi-tractor trailer that was stopped in the left lane. This set off a chain-reaction; after hitting the semi, the semi then hit a SUV, followed by the SUV being pushed into a small passenger vehicle.
All vehicles involved had to be towed, and the Megabus and semi sustained significant damage. One passenger described how there was glass everywhere and that her seat cushion threw her three seats to the front. Of the 63 passengers on the bus, 19 were taken to the hospital for injuries.
Also according to the article, at the time of the collision there was ongoing construction, which had slowed traffic and was rerouting vehicles from the right lane to the median. Therefore, this was not an isolated instance of just one truck being stopped, but all traffic was stopped and needed to slow down. Due to all vehicles stopping and slowing down, a chain reaction accident easily occurred. Due to the open and obvious conditions of constructions and a mass amount of vehicles slowing down, stopping, and navigating toward the median, this begs the question of how the driver did not slow down in time when conditions provided significant foreseeability. This also exemplifies how diligent driving is imperative at all times and that even moments of distraction or negligence can have tremendous impacts and create a serious accident.