Fatal Bus Accidents in Alaska

Fatal Bus Accidents in Alaska

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities creates thorough reports and analyses about traffic accidents, collisions, and fatalities. Data by vehicle type is also available. The newest comprehensive report about bus fatalities is from 2008, but it can be used to paint a rather accurate picture of the incidence of such collisions.

Fatal Bus Accidents in Alaska: Analysis

In 2008, there were 20,963 vehicles involved in crashes that caused both injuries and death. The number of commercial buses involved in such accidents was 80. Of these, 66 caused property damage, 11 buses crashed and led to minor injuries, three caused major injuries, and no crashes with a fatal outcome.

In 2007, Alaska had 19,045 vehicle crashes. Of those, 91 were caused by commercial buses. Thirty collisions caused property damage. Light injuries were present in 21 cases, and three collisions occurred with heavy injuries. Three bus crashes had a fatal outcome.

A report for 2011 suggests that there were 53 fatalities during the year involving automobiles, buses, and trucks. The good news is that 93 percent of passengers and the drivers utilized seat belts to increase safety and preventing a lethal outcome.

These figures suggest that bus fatalities happen to be lower than the deaths caused by the collisions of other vehicles. In 2007, for example, Alaska had 31 fatal accidents involving passenger cars, 22 crashes featuring light trucks, six motorcycle fatalities, one death involving a large truck, and seven cases with unknown vehicles.

Fatal Collisions in 2016 and 2017

The situation isn’t that much different in recent years. Here are some new statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration:

Buses involved36160
Number of Crashes36160

The data for 2013 and 2014 is more or less similar. There were no fatal collisions involving buses in 2013. In 2014, one bus crash had a lethal outcome.

Contributing Factors

Alaska has also compiled a list of the factors that have most commonly contributed to the death of people involved in bus collisions.

In 2007, no deaths resulted from speeding on behalf of the bus driver. In comparison, speeding was a primary factor as far as light trucks, motorcycles, off-road vehicles and passenger cars were involved.

Two crashes in 2007 featured bus drivers that had consumed alcohol. These crashes contributed solely to property damage, and there weren’t passengers injured or killed in the accidents.

All Alaska lethal crashes, including the ones involving commercial buses, have the following contributing elements:

  • Human error is the most common reason for collisions that cause either heavy injuries or death on the road
  • Roadway problems, unfamiliarity with the roadway
  • Environmental factors like poor weather or limited visibility
  • Vehicular issues

Some of the most common human factors include backing unsafely, failure to yield, improper change of lane or lane use, improper passing, improper turning, following to maintain sufficient distance between the vehicle and the one in front, red light violation, driver inattention and distracted driving (ranks among the most common factors) and fatigue.

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