A tragic early morning bus crash on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs claimed the lives of thirteen people when the bus crashed into the back of a tractor trailer moving in the same direction. The cause of the accident is unknown, and so far none of the survivors have been able to provide any useful details to authorities, as there was no warning before the crash, and apparently many of the passengers were asleep at the time.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), an independent federal agency that investigates major transportation accidents, has launched an investigation into the crash—one of the worst in California history.
Fatal End to a Night Out
The crash on I-10 happened early on the morning of October 23 as the tour bus returned from a Saturday night trip to a desert casino. At 5:17 a.m. that Sunday morning, the bus came upon slower-moving traffic where a highway crew had been doing overnight work. Traffic, including the truck that was struck, was moving at around 5 miles per hour. The bus did not slow at all before the crash. A California Highway Patrol spokesman told reporters that the only skid marks at the scene were from the truck, which was pushed forward by the force of the crash.
The bus hit the truck with enough force to jam nearly fifteen feet of the vehicle into the trailer of the truck. In addition to the bus driver and the twelve passengers who were killed, thirty-one people were injured, including the truck driver. Several are still in the hospital with severe injuries.
History of Misfortune
California, sadly, has a record of catastrophic bus crashes. A 1963 crash between a train and a truck full of workers killed thirty-two and injured twenty-five. In 1976, twenty-nine members of a high school choir were killed when the brakes on their bus failed and it flipped at an exit ramp.
More recently, 2014 saw a truck crash into a tour bus, killing ten. Less spectacular but no less tragic crashes have occurred, including one in Merced County in August, that left four dead and more than twenty injured.
Bus Safety a National Concern
Most bus passengers don’t worry about the safety of the vehicles they’re riding in, but many basic safety features that are common in today’s cars aren’t included in buses. Individual airbags are nonexistent, and most buses don’t even include seat belts. New design requirements intended to protect passengers in the event of crashes, especially rollovers, were only recently proposed by the federal agency that oversees bus safety in 2014.
California Bus Accident Lawyers
Buses, like any other motor vehicle, can be involved in crashes. But the truth is that crashes are almost never really accidents. They happen because of carelessness or negligence, because maintenance is skipped, or because training was not complete. They happen because shortcuts are taken that decrease safety or because drivers don’t get enough sleep or choose to operate while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When you or someone close to you has been the victim of a bus accident, you need professional legal help on your side to move your case forward and make sure that you receive compensation for injuries, medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages related to the crash. At the Law Offices of J. Chrisp, let us put our experience with bus accident and truck accident law to work for you. Call us at (707) 549-8166 or reach us through the contact form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.