Fatal Bus Accidents in Vermont
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) maintains records and data of fatal crashes across the country through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The data is gathered from all states and is widely considered the most reliable source of crash information. The details are collected and compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Reports are made annually so data can be analyzed over various periods of time.
Fatal Crashes in Vermont
Although Vermont is a small state, fatal accidents do still occur. The number of collisions reported in 2015, the most recent data available, was 14,116. This was the largest amount of accidents in the state since 2006 and an increase of 1,390 accidents over 2014.
Speed is a factor in many collisions in Vermont and across the country. Speeding may be defined as traveling above the posted limit or traveling too fast for road conditions. Another factor that may be involved in bus accidents is inattentive driving. Inattentiveness is also called distracted driving. This can happen when a driver uses an electronic device, eats or drinks, or talks to others while behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is also a serious concern, particularly for those who drive long distances without rest.
Data gathered thus far for 2017 shows that the number of fatalities on the roads is projected to surpass last year’s totals and will be on track to be the highest since 2012. There has been a total of 39 deaths so far this year. Bus accidents and fatalities are not specifically detailed. Fatal accidents most often occur in rural areas rather than urban locations. In 2015, nine happened in cities while 48 occurred in rural settings. Rural locations are often less well lit at night and vehicles can travel at higher speeds than in cities.
Vermont Safety Legislation
The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) oversees and administers public transit programs. Federal law must be followed by all those operating buses and drivers are required to have commercial licenses according to the specifics of the program. All vehicles must be maintained according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Buses must be inspected every six months.
Owners are required to operate motor buses in a safe manner. The law requires electric flares and special directional signals on some types of vehicles. Also, vehicles must obey the laws regarding chain and tires. A vehicle must have the prescribed number of emergency exits based on type and size. Operators must stop, look and listen at railroad crossings before proceeding across tracks.
Vermont has a population of 626,042, and total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) of 7,314 in millions. The total number of fatal collisions in 2015, the most recent data available, was 50 with a total of 57 deaths as a result. This equals 9.1 deaths per 100,000 people or 0.78 deaths per 100 VMT. The national average, for comparison, is 10.9 deaths per 100,000 people or 1.13 fatalities per 100 VMT. The data shows that although Vermont has experienced a rise in highway deaths, the state is still below the national average.