Fatal Bus Accidents in the District of Columbia
Because it does not technically belong to any other state, DC has its own statistical data for traffic collisions, including fatal bus crashes. In 2015, the population of DC was 672,228, and there were 3,557 vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in millions of miles. The total number of fatal crashes was 23 with the same number of deaths. That equates to 3.4 deaths per 100,000 people or 0.65 deaths per 100 VMT. This is the lowest percentage in the country. The national average is 10.9 deaths per 100 VMT or 1.13 deaths per 100,000 people.
Bus Accident Data
In 2015, the most recent data available, there were a total of 2,315 reported bus crashes in DC. Of these accidents, there was one death and 389 injuries. Data over the last three years, from 2013 through 2015, show that there was a steady rise in bus accidents. Although there were more crashes, there were fewer deaths reported.
Some of the driver actions that were reported at the time of the crash included:
- Traveling straight
- Turing left
- Changing lanes
- Turning right
- Getting into or out of a parking space
- Slowing or stopping
- Making a U-turn
It is important to note that DC has a large number of tourists including tour buses. These bus drivers may be unfamiliar with roads and could, therefore, take actions that might contribute to the likelihood of an accident.
Road conditions may cause or contribute to fatal crashes. Most accidents happened when it was clear and dry. However, adverse conditions can make driving hazardous. Rain, snow, and fog were the most commonly reported weather-related issues that reportedly contributed to accidents in 2015.
More accidents occurred when the roads were not lit than on roads that were illuminated. Some crashes happened in areas where the lights were defective. Most fatal incidents happened in daylight, followed by dark hours and then dawn or dusk. The majority of crashes took place in light traffic conditions and in areas where there was no traffic signal.
The most accidents happened in October and the least in February. The months of June and July saw slightly fewer incidents but the same amount of deaths. The day of the week with the most fatalities was Thursday with the fewest occurring on Wednesday. However, Friday was the day with the highest number of crashes with most occurring between the hours of 3 pm and 6 pm.
As part of an accident report, police officers gather information about any contributing factors that may have led to the incident. These factors include:
- Inattention of driver
- Following too closely
- Improper lane change
- Improper backing
- Improper passing
- Alcohol use
- Red light violation
Drivers may have been given a citation for a violation. More than one contributing factor may be present in a single incident. Not every incident reported a contributing factor. Of the factors, speed was most often reported in fatal crashes.