State Fatal Bus Accident Statistics – South Carolina
In South Carolina, a bus is a motor vehicle that can transport 16 people or more at once. The driver is included in that number. Federal regulations regarding safety are incorporated into the state code. Motor buses and trolley coaches cannot be more than 102 inches wide on any route. Various statutes cover lighting equipment, clearance lamp color, and use of side-marker lamps, stop and backup lights, and reflectors. Also, requirements for vehicles with air-operated and compressed air brakes are established by state laws, as they are for warning devices such as flares.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) does not regulate maintenance but oversees compliance with standards set forth by state policy and by manufacturers. However, SCDOT officials inspect buses when they are delivered and conduct random inspections. Compliance reviews are conducted as well, and check that maintenance is done per agency requirements.
Statistics on Fatal Bus Accidents
Data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports only one fatality in 2013 and one in 2015 due to bus accidents. However, the state Department of Public Safety tells a slightly different story through its annual Fact Books. According to its statistics, the following numbers apply:
|Year||Number of Bus Fatalities|
For 2015, a department Fact Book cited two fatal collisions and 96 incidents that caused injuries. Property damage was a factor in 224 crashes. Aside from one fatal collision in 2011, there were 51 that caused injuries and 178 that caused damage to property. A report from 2012 notes that, in addition to two fatal collisions, there were 69 involving injuries and 162 that led to damage.
According to the Island Packet, a chartered Greyhound bus collided with a car on S.C. 17, shutting down traffic, in January 2017. Three people were injured as a result. In September 2016, four people were killed in a bus crash transporting a football team from Clinton College, in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The bus collided with a highway median in North Carolina, which also injured 42 people. Reports by NBC News said a blown tire likely caused the bus to swerve and hit the median.
Bus Safety Risks
Compared to other forms of travel, riding in a bus can be safe. Therefore, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enforces safety regulations very stiffly; a violator such as one that operates a bus without the proper authority can face a penalty of $25,000.
The administration has recognized several factors that lead to fatal bus accidents. Speeding is one, but distracted driving such as texting or talking on the phone, eating, doing paperwork, or checking maps while operating the vehicle can also lead to crashes. A lack of rest has been identified as a contributor. Damaged/worn tires, or the wrong tires for the vehicle, has led to fatal incidents. The agency has also stressed the need for maintenance, repairs, and attention to recalls by manufacturers.