Fatal Bus Accidents in Virginia

Fatal Bus Accidents in Virginia

The Commonwealth of Virginia issues an annual report of traffic crash facts. The most recent report published contains data from 2015. 125,800 traffic collisions occurred in 2015. There were a total of 753 people killed on roadways in the state in 2015. This number represents an increase of 7.57 percent over 2014. At the same time, the number of vehicles registered in Virginia increased as did the estimated vehicle miles traveled. Virginia reported 524 total bus crashes in 2015. There was one fatality and 297 injuries in these crashes.

Bus Crash Data

The only fatality reported in a bus crash occurred to a bus driver. Of the 297 injured, 56 were drivers and 241 passengers. The number of collisions involving buses represents 0.4 percent of all fatal accidents in the state. 322 incidents were property damage crashes. These are incidents where more than $1,000 or more of damage has occurred.

The bus driver actions were reported in these collisions. The majority of crashes, 320, reported no violation. The following details were provided:

  • Following too closely behind another vehicle
  • Improper lane change
  • Failure to yield
  • Improper turn
  • Improper passing
  • Errors in backing up
  • Speeding
  • Failure to obey traffic signal

Of the drivers, the vast majority, 506, were not physically impaired at the time the incident occurred. One driver was reportedly fatigued. It is important to note that driver actions are reported by police at the time the crash occurred. Some collisions may have no attributed driver cause while others could have more than one in some cases.

Contributing Factors

Various factors could cause or contribute to a fatal bus crash. These may include such things as environmental issues and vehicle defects. Of all the fatal crashes reported, most buses, 236, were traveling in a straight direction at the time of the occurrence. 102 vehicles were stopped in traffic, 73 were turning, 24 were changing lanes, 24 were stopping or slowing down, nine were backing up, eight ran off the road, six were passing, and one was making a U-turn.

Weather conditions can play a part in some crashes. In 451 incidents, no adverse weather conditions were noted. The rain was the most common factor as stated in 55 cases, snow in 12 instances and fog or mist in 5 crashes. The majority of incidents happened during daylight hours. Of those that happened at night, most occurred on lighted roads. About 33 crashes happened at dusk or dawn.

Vehicles must regularly be inspected to ensure proper safety. Sometimes, however, a crash is caused by a defect. Three brake malfunctions, one tire problem and one situation with lights were the only vehicle defects reported in 2015. 150 bus incidents took place in areas where traffic signals were in place while 100 happened in areas with no signals. 51 took place at stop signs and seven at yield signs. Five crashes were reported in no passing zones and one at a railroad crossing. In many cases, the traffic control situation was noted as “other” or was not reported.

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