Fatal Bus Accident Statistics – Rhode Island
For Rhode Island, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and highway safety annual reports filed with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration do not distinguish buses in their accident statistics. However, the state does recognize fatalities related to crashes that occur within 30 days of a traffic incident. The person does not have to die on the scene. Drivers, occupants, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists may be considered as victims of a bus accident if it directly results in death or injuries that later contribute to it.
Safety is a concern throughout the bus and transportation industry. Various state laws govern size and safety factors, including a maximum length of 40 feet, except for public transit authority articulated buses. There are also laws requiring rear wheel mud flaps. Wheel safety chock blocks must be installed on buses that carry more than seven passengers when the vehicle is stopped or parked or stopped on a highway with enough grade to cause it to move and left unattended. The exception is vehicles with positive spring-loaded air parking brakes. Another law provisions clearance and marker lamps/reflectors.
Other laws cover:
- Installation and use of seatbelts/child restraints in buses and other public service vehicles.
- Use of flares and warning devices for safety and emergencies.
- Vehicles to undergo inspections twice a year or when the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) finds it necessary to do so.
- Only state-employed inspectors can examine buses and motor coach carriers.
- Personnel must satisfy CPR training and education requirements to be licensed.
Bus Accidents in the News
The absence of fatality statistics doesn’t mean bus crashes don’t happen in Rhode Island. According to WPRI, an incident in August 2016 involved a bus in Providence. Only minor injuries were reported. However, the same month, a woman was killed by one in the city, after being struck crossing the street at Kennedy Plaza. She was dragged 50 to 60 feet, according to reports. The 30-year-old woman worked at Bank of America for nine years.
In July 2017, two men were struck and killed by a shuttle bus while crossing the street, according to the Providence Journal. The accident occurred near the Oxford Casino, at a location where there’s no crosswalk or pedestrian crossing. The report also noted the road was not well-lit.
In April 2017, a passenger bus was reportedly struck by a box truck in Portsmouth. A side mirror on the vehicle was damaged, but no one on board was injured. The accident was described as a hit-and-run. The truck driver kept going and later claimed to be unaware of the accident.
Buses: A Safe Way to Travel
Although riding a bus is extremely safe, safety is in the hands of motor coach operators. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has labeled activities such as distracted driving and speeding as major contributors to fatal accidents. Maintaining an unrealistic schedule and driving while fatigued is also mentioned. Proper maintenance can be effective at preventing mechanical failures, but only if it is done on a regular schedule and when an inspector finds a potential problem.