Fatal Bus Accidents in Texas
The Texas Department of Transportation, TxDOT, tracks data for all accidents that occur in the state and issues annual safety reports. The information can be accessed to help better understand different types of crashes and help implement plans for better safety in the future. Accidents are categorized by various types of vehicles. There were fewer collisions with buses, but they do occur they can result in many injuries or fatalities.
In 2016 there were 18 fatal bus crashes statewide. Of these collisions, six occurred in rural areas and 12 in urban locations. In addition to fatal crashes, there were a number of non-fatal bus collisions. Incapacitating injuries were previously known as disabling. There were 57 crashes that resulted in incapacitation with 49 of them happening in urban settings and 8 in rural locales. Some injuries were minor, or none were reported. The total amount of bus crashes in Texas in was 2,975.
Various factors might cause or contribute to a deadly crash. These factors may have to do with road conditions, driver errors or mechanical failures. The most commonly reported factors in Texas in 2016 are:
- Failure to Stay in Lane
- Driver Inattention
- Failure to Yield
- Improper Evasive Action
- Slick Tires
- Failure to Obey Traffic Signal
- Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
- Fatigued or Fell Asleep
The contributing factors are reported by police officers as part of the accident report. There could be more than one factor reported in a single collision, and some may not have any factor noted.
Those who drive cross country or long distances are more likely to become fatigued. Drowsy driving is extremely serious for people who are carrying a large number of passengers. Companies may have rules in place that limit the time a driver can spend on the road. Fatal accidents are most likely to occur on weekends, and the most happen during late evening hours between 7 pm and midnight.
Bus Safety Legislation
Texas has legislation in place designed to improve bus operation safety. Motor buses must be less than 45 feet in length. Those that are between 35 and 45 feet long must have air brakes and more than two axles or four tires on the rear axle. The glass on doors, window and the windshield must be made of approved safety glazing materials. Additionally, various marker lamps and reflectors are necessary on vehicles that are more than 30 feet long.
Buses are required to stop at railroad crossings per state law. The driver must open the door to look down the tracks to ensure the tracks are clear before crossing. This applies to all railroad tracks except those in residential areas. Vehicles moving on a downgrade must coast only with the clutch disengaged. Drivers may not operate electronic devices when any minor passengers are aboard. The use of a cell phone is allowed only when the vehicle is not in motion or when there is an emergency. TxDOT does not require inspections; however, vehicles must comply with all federal regulations.