Fatal Bus Accident Statistics – Oregon
Traveling by bus is perhaps as safe as it gets on the roads. However, crashes have claimed many lives, and are often attributed to safety issues and driver error. Oregon is no exception. Factors cited by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety administration include distracted driving, speeding, and operating the vehicle for long periods of time, resulting in driver fatigue. Damaged or worn tires, or improper pressure, can result in accidents as well. Maintenance and awareness are critically important, as neglecting repairs and pedestrians can have fatal consequences. Drivers also, of course, must pay attention to speed, weather, and road conditions, which all have variable factors depending on the seasons and particular day.
Bus Fatalities in Oregon: The Numbers
Federal agencies have released statistical information regarding bus accident fatalities in Oregon. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has annual data up until 2015 and covers occupants in fatal bus crashes.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has taken measures to reduce bus and truck fatalities. Its Motor Carrier Transportation Division has taken steps to simplify compliance and reduce the regulatory requirements imposed on operators. In 2015, it reported five bus crashes, five injuries, and one death.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan
The organization is also focused on safety inspections, based on a plan implemented in 2017. A Level 1 inspection involves 37 steps, including driver qualification checks and hours of service, annual vehicle assessments, and a look at emergency exits on buses. A Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance decal is put on any bus that passes a Level 1 or Level 5 inspection that finds no defects in brakes, exhaust systems, frames, lighting, fuel systems, tires, wheels/rims, suspension, steering systems, or windshield wipers. Also:
- Passenger carriers with a poor compliance history are subject to periodic reviews.
- Level 2 and three inspections are conducted at bus weight stations.
- Inspections can be conducted at museums, casinos, ski resorts, and other tourist locations.
- Police can serve as certified inspectors and conduct roadside bus checks during stops.
Overall, 2015 was a deadly year for traffic accidents, according to The Oregonian and the Oregon Department of Transportation. As of December 16, that year, 409 deaths had been reported. That represented a 20 percent increase over the year before. The 313 fatalities on the roads in 2013 were the lowest in about 50 years, by comparison, although the report didn’t specify trends related to buses.
Deadly Bus Accidents in Oregon
There is a history of fatal accidents in the state. In 1965, 14 passengers were killed on a Greyhound Bus on I-5 when it crashed Christmas Eve. Nine were declared dead when officials reached the scene, while others died in the days following the incident. Also, 25 people were treated for traumatic injuries.
A bus crash in 2012, near Pendleton, resulted in nine fatalities. Both incidents raised a debate about the lack of seatbelts and, in 2013, a ruling requiring all new motor coaches to have lap/shoulder belts was made by the NHTSA.