Our Chicago trucking accident lawyers just learned of a fatal accident involving a tractor trailer truck and a tour bus that occurred early this morning. Reports from CBS News indicate that at least one person, the semi-truck driver, was killed, and over thirty other people sustained injuries. The Spectator reported that the accident occurred when the semi-truck struck the back of the bus, which was pulling back onto the highway from the side of the road. Following the collision, both vehicles became engulfed in flames. It is being reported that all 46 passengers on board were able to get out, but at least thirty of them were hospitalized.
We will continue to monitor reports to learn more about the potential causes and consequences of this tour bus accident. It comes just five days after two people were killed in another crash involving a tour bus. That rollover crash, which occurred just 45 miles from today’s accident, is said to have been caused by a tire blowout in the bus.
Forbes.com cites a statistic from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety that says that since January, 32 people have already been killed in tour bus accidents. That’s already two more than the number killed in tour bus accidents in all of 2010. With statistics like these, it is important for both passengers and tour bus operators to start thinking of ways to reduce these numbers to help ensure the safety of future passengers and others on the road. Unfortunately, despite increases in the number of these types of vehicles on the roads, the government does little to regulate them.
Currently, tour bus passengers are not required to wear seat belts, thereby increasing their risk for injury or death in the event of an accident. There is also little monitoring of tour bus drivers or the vehicles themselves. Our Chicago personal injury lawyers were shocked to learn that many tour companies do not perform background checks on drivers, and all they need is a commercial driver’s license to operate these large vehicles. Additionally, as with truck drivers, tour bus drivers run the risk of accidents caused by driver exhaustion because little is done to police driver hours.
Although what caused this accident is not clear at this point, our Chicago semi-truck accident lawyers hope that the 2011 increase in tour bus accident deaths will motivate state and federal lawmakers to consider new regulations to protect the safety of tour bus passengers and other drivers on the road. Due to the size of these vehicles, the risk for catastrophic personal injury and death increases greatly when an accident involves a tour bus. Therefore, tour bus operators and drivers must ensure that their vehicles are in safe operating condition at all times. Operators must thoroughly screen their drivers to make sure they have proper experience and an understanding of how to safely operate their vehicles. They should also take measures to limit their drivers’ hours of service to ensure that they do not drive distracted or fall asleep behind the wheel.