Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

How Safe Are Commercial Buses?

How safe are commercial buses to ride? How many buses are there in the US, and how often are these involved in motorcoach crashes? Buses are a common mode of transportation and these vehicles transport millions of passengers each year. Nationwide, the number of buses registered in the US is rising. With it, the number of accidents involving a commercial bus crash is rising, too.

Buses Carry Large Percentages of People in the U.S.

Data gathered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that the number of buses registered in the United States and Canada has risen significantly in recent years. In 2012, there were 764,509 buses registered. That number skyrocketed to 864,549 in 2014, rose slightly to 872,027 in 2014, and rose a little higher to 888,907 in 2015. The number skyrocketed again to 976,161 as of 2016.

These buses are transporting a considerable number of people. In all, commercial buses carried 596,444,300 passengers in 2015. On average, each bus transported 15,404 passengers per year, with larger buses (100+ passengers) transporting an average of 25,101 passengers, and smaller buses (9 passengers or less) carrying 4,580. As of 2017, there were a total of 12,699 commercial operators licensed to transport passengers on interstate routes.

How Often Do Bus Accidents Occur?

In 2013, an estimated 66,000 commercial bus crash accidents were recorded. That number rose to 68,000 in 2014, dropped to 67,000 in 2015, and rose to 69,000 in 2016. Many of these caused injuries. In 2013, 18,000 bus accidents caused personal injuries. That dropped to 11,000 in 2014, rose to 14,000 in 2015, and rose again to 15,000 in 2016. However, a surprisingly small number of commercial bus crashes resulted in fatalities. In 2013, there were 282 fatality causing commercial bus accidents in the United States. This dropped to 235 in 2014, rose to 259 in 2015, and dropped back to 225 in 2016.

Most passengers on commercial buses do not wear seat belts. In 2010, only 47% of passengers wore seat belts. That number spiked at 74.4% in 2013, but dropped to 65.4% in 2016. Those passengers who chose not to wear seat belts are at considerable risk of serious injury or death in a motorcoach accident.

When safety violations occur, the government can issue fines to correct deficient behaviors. However, FMCSA data shows that fines are a relatively rare penalty. In 2013, only 280 carriers were fined. In 2014, 230 were fined, 233 in 2015, 179 in 2016, and 257 in 2017. Over the 5 year period, less than $10.39 million in fines were issued and the cases closed. Thus, there is minimal risk of significant penalty for failure to properly maintain vehicles, adhere to hours of service guidelines, correct operational deficiencies, etc.

Transit buses are the most dangerous for passengers. In 2016, 93 fatal crashes involved transit buses. These were followed by school buses which were involved in 86 fatal accidents, and intercity-buses which were involved in 16. One reason for the high rate of fatalities on school buses and intercity-buses is that many states do not require these larger vehicles to provide seat belts for all passengers.

Call Brad Pistotnik for a Free Consultation

We always give free consultations and we answer the phone 24/7 and on weekends and holidays for a free legal consultation regarding a commercial bus crash. We represent clients throughout Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma, and Illinois who wish to pursue compensation for their claim. Call us at 1-800-241-BRAD or on our local line at 316-684-4400. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. In Western Kansas you can call 620-THE-BULL.