Fatal Bus Accidents in Kentucky

Fatal Bus Accidents in Kentucky

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) is the executive branch of state government that is responsible for the safety of the road and highway network. Apart from more than 1,400 miles of interstate highway, the KYTC manages over 3,600 miles of state primary roads and 20,000 miles of secondary roads.

In 2016, there was a reduction in fatalities and injuries in bus accidents in Kentucky from 2015. Indications are that 2017 will see a further decrease in these statistics.

Kentucky Bus Fatalities

The statistics for Kentucky bus crashes are sourced from the Motor Carrier Management Information System of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS):

YearTotal Bus CrashesFatalitiesInjuries

The data shows a marked decrease in bus accidents from 2015 to 2016. There was a corresponding reduction in fatalities and injuries in 2016.

The statistics for 2017 only reflect the data for the first three months of the year. With 53 crashes having occurred without the loss of life, signs are encouraging that 2017 could show a further decrease in both deaths and injuries.

The national statistics for buses involved in accidents also show a decline in fatalities from 326 in 2015 to 297 in 2016. However, the number of injuries from bus crashes in the United States increased in 2016 to 17,624.

Accident Causes

In November 2009, the FMCSA released a report on their findings of a study conducted into the causes of fatal bus crashes. Given the relatively small number of bus accidents that have resulted in fatalities and injuries, the study only looked at 39 crashes involving 40 buses over a two year period.

They found that a large number, 26, of these buses were motor coaches. There was one collision between two buses. The FMCSA concluded that the following critical events made collisions unavoidable:

  • Driving too fast in the prevailing conditions
  • Running out of the land or off the road
  • A pedestrian stepping into the vehicle’s lane
  • A stationary vehicle in the driving lane

Critical events were assigned to 19 of the buses involved. The reasons for the inability of drivers to avoid collision were:

  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Inattention and lack of vigilance
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Brake failure
  • Fire
  • Ice on the roadway

Safety and Operating Regulations

Kentucky regulations require that buses must be kept clean and in a sanitary condition so as not to endanger the health of passengers. Statutes also limit the dimensions, and weight of motor coaches permitted to travel on the state’s highways. Vehicles are required to undergo an annual inspection, and the Kentucky State Police or any other peace officer is empowered to conduct this examination.

Overcrowding on buses is prohibited, and carrier operators are required to provide a service to passengers with special needs. All baggage must be stowed safely so as not to endanger the safety of passengers.

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