What is the Most Common Cause of Bus Accidents?

The most common cause of bus accidents is driver error. According to the Journal of Safety Research, accident-related errors are usually the result of inattentive and risky driving.

Other forms of negligence can come into play, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, Industrial Health notes that driver fatigue can also play a role in bus accidents.

How Negligence Leads to Errors

Driver error often begins with negligence, which includes a variety of risky actions. Some forms of negligence include:

Driving While Tired or Fatigued

Bus drivers have demanding schedules that keep them on the road for long periods. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has clear restrictions on hours of service for commercial drivers, not all companies observe them.

Bus driver fatigue can occur due to sleep deprivation and changes to the driver’s schedule. A fatigued driver may cause a crash after missing a stop sign or forgetting to signal when they are switching lanes.

Distracted Driving

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines distracted driving as any activity that takes your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or mind off of driving.

Simply sending a text message can take enough attention to cause a driver to travel the length of a football field without looking at the road if they are traveling 55 miles per hour. At this rate, a bus driver could miss a pedestrian crossing a street or blow a red light.

Intoxicated Driving

As with any motorist, a bus driver leaves themselves and their passengers open to great risks when they drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A blood-alcohol concentration level above 0.08 is illegal and dangerous.

Driving requires a person’s full faculties, and substances that affect a driver’s judgment can directly affect their performance behind the wheel. An intoxicated bus driver may swerve between lanes or make a poor judgment call when yielding the right of way.


Speeding can contribute to a bus accident since passenger carriers are much larger than other vehicles. They require more time and space to come to a stop, and bus drivers should understand this. Due to a bus’s height and weight, speeding can cause a rollover, resulting in severe injuries and fatalities for passengers.

Other Causes of Bus Accidents

Along with driver negligence, bus accidents can result from mechanical issues or hazardous road conditions. When this happens, the bus company or a government entity may bear the responsibility for the victim’s injuries.

Mechanical Issues

Along with hours of service regulations, the FMCSA also mandates that bus companies perform regular inspections and maintenance on their passenger carriers. When a company fails to do this, an accident could result from a preventable mechanical failure.

For example, if the brakes malfunction during transit, a bus could crash into another vehicle or structure. Even if a bus driver observes the speed limit and pays attention to the road, a mechanical failure is enough to cause an accident. In this case, the bus company has the responsibility to take preventative measures.

Hazardous Road Conditions

A bus accident can also result from a government entity failing to ensure safe road designs and maintenance. Like vehicles, roads require upkeep, and accidents can stem solely from a dangerous road. For example, a deep pothole may be enough to cause serious damage.

If a bus lane lacks the proper dimensions, it could cause a collision with another vehicle. When issues with the road itself occur, a city or other municipality may be liable for any injuries caused by the resulting accident.

Seeking Legal Help for a Bus Accident

Regardless of what caused your bus accident, you have the right to hire a lawyer to investigate your case and represent you. Our firm may call on an accident reconstructionist or eyewitnesses to determine what caused your accident during an investigation.

There may be more than one party liable for your injuries, and a lawyer can help you identify them and seek to hold them accountable.

Some forms of compensation may include:

  • “Pain and suffering” and inconvenience
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity

If a negligent driver, bus company, or government entity was to blame, you can pursue compensation from them through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Our lawyer can help you seek a fair settlement or court-awarded offer.

Call the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC for Help

Negligence is the most common cause of bus accidents, whether it shows up as driver error or a failure of another entity. Bus accidents can result in severe injuries for passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians.

If you suffered losses in a bus accident, we could discuss your legal options during a free consultation. The Parrish Law Firm, PLLC handles vehicle accidents, including bus crashes. We can build a case for fair compensation for you. Give us a call at (571) 229-1800 as soon as possible since a statute of limitations may apply to your case.

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