Fatal Bus Accidents in Tennessee

Fatal Bus Accidents in Tennessee

Bus accidents do not often occur, but when they do they can result in serious injuries and fatalities. There are various types of vehicles for public use including for charters, city travel, and state or national travel. School bus statistics are not included in this report. Coaches are used primarily for long distance travel and are equipped with comfort features while city vehicles are more generic and are designed for short term use by many passengers.

Statistics from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, TITAN Division, provides information about fatal bus crashes over the last five years.

YearNo. Fatal Accidents

The number of deadly bus accidents dropped slightly in 2013 but rose again in the following years. The report does not indicate the how many deaths were caused by the crashes. It also does not provide details about whether the driver was among those killed.

Fatal Bus Crash Statistics

Fatal bus crashes nationwide also increased in 2015. There was a total of 261 deadly crashes in 2015 as compared with 236 in 2014. The number of bus occupant deaths in 2015 was 49 as compared to 44 in 2014. There are more buses on the roads than ever before. Reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, FMCSA, show that there were 462,156 buses registered in 1975 while in 2015 there were 888,907. The number has almost doubled over the last 40 years.

It is important to note that while the number of vehicles in use has dramatically increased throughout the years, the percentage of fatalities has decreased. In 1975 there were 5.75 bus accident deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, VMT. In 2015 that number was just 1.82. Although there are more buses today, fewer collision fatalities occur.

Factors that Contribute to Fatal Accidents

There are various factors that may play a role in causing a collision. These generally fall into the categories of road conditions, driver error, and mechanical failure. Weather is a problem that causes some collisions. Events such as rain, hail, ice, snow, and fog can make driving more dangerous. In Tennessee, just more than half the fatal crashes in 2015 occurred in rural areas while slightly fewer happened in urban areas.

Driver errors can cause accidents that may result in fatalities. Speed is the most commonly reported factor in crashes. Inattention, following too closely and improper lane changes are also issues that could contribute to a crash. Some accidents have more than one contributing factor while others have up to three. Not all accidents reported a contributing factor.

About half of vehicle occupants who died in crashes in 2015 were restrained, while about half were not. Many city buses do not have seat belts because of the way buses are compartmentally built. They are designed to provide safety to passengers regardless of whether they are restrained or not. Typically, city buses are traveling on local roadways where the speed limit is low. Coaches that generally travel on highways provide seat belts.

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