New York Personal Injury Attorneys
Double Decker Tour Buses: Are they safe?
The tourism industry is a major source of revenue for New York, and double decker tour buses make it very easy for tourists to explore and sightsee. Although traveling by bus is generally safe, a number of serious accidents in recent years have spurred scrutiny of the tour bus industry, putting into question the safety of double decker tour buses. These types of buses often travel at a low speed throughout the city, but when an accident occurs, they often result in serious injuries.
The Dangers and Unique Hazards of Double-Decker Buses
Double decker buses are uniquely designed vehicles that require strict maintenance and well-trained, experienced drivers. However, due to loopholes in state law, double-decker tourist buses do not have to follow the same regulations and laws as other kinds of buses. Tour bus companies are not required to report accidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles and drivers do not have to undergo regular medical and driving tests. These factors, in addition to the size and design of double decker tour buses, present a number of potential dangers and unique hazards which drivers, passengers, and the bus company must safeguard against. For example, those include:
- Bus company negligence in hiring an inexperienced driver or failing to perform routine bus maintenance.
- The height and weight of the bus.
- Instability due to the bus’s high center gravity.
- Large blind spots.
- Top of bus is open, passengers exposed to the elements.
- Steep staircase on the bus.
Although buses are not involved in accidents as often as cars, when they are, the injuries and damage are often severe. In addition to the bus driver and passengers, other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists can easily become collateral damage.
A 2017 tour bus accident in New York, resulted in multiple fatalities, including a pedestrian, the tour bus driver and a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) passenger. The accident occurred when the tour bus slammed into a MTA bus while making a left turn, causing the buses to spin around and sent the tour bus crashing into a restaurant. Sixteen other people suffered injuries. Multiple drivers belonging to the same tour bus company had been cited for safety violations throughout the year prior to the accident. The citations included failing to obey a traffic control device, speeding and unlawful parking in the roadway.
Common Double Decker Tour Bus Accidents
The most common types and causes of double decker tour bus accidents include:
- Tipping over from speeding or too sharp of a turn.
- Hitting a low hanging overpass, due to the driver forgetting the height of the bus or underestimating the amount of available space.
- Failing to yield.
- Pedestrian accidents
- Driving outside of the lane of travel.
- Disobeying traffic laws.
- Driving while under the influence.
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued.
- Distracted driving
- Driving away from bus stop before passengers are seated.
- Passengers being struck by objects or falling off of second floor.
- Passengers falling while going up or down steep staircase.
Without considerable care on behalf of the double decker tour bus drivers, navigating narrow city streets in New York can have devastating consequences.
Speak to Our Double Decker Bus Accident Lawyers
If you have been injured because of a tour bus accident, contact Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. Reach us online or call (212) 732-9000, and we will evaluate your case for free.