Tired Driver Causes Deadly Greyhound Bus Accident
Dozing driver steered bus into the center median in deadly highway accident
Taking a red eye flight or an overnight bus is often an appealing option for busy travelers who do not like the idea of wasting precious daylight hours on their commute. Unfortunately, in some cases the passengers are not the only ones lulled to sleep by the darkness, as one recent Greyhound bus accident shows.
The accident took place early on the morning of January 19. The Greyhound bus had departed from Los Angeles at about 11:30 the previous evening and was traveling north on a route planned to end in Oakland. However, the bus never made it to the final destination. While on the highway in San Jose, the bus crashed into some safety barrels, struck the center median, and then flipped onto its side.
Two of the 20 passengers were killed in the accident, one was seriously injured, and perhaps eight more had minor injuries. The driver also suffered minor injuries.
Passengers Report Driver Fatigue
According to some of the bus passengers, the driver seemed to fall asleep behind the wheel just before the accident.
At a planned stop in Gilroy, the driver had exited the bus to get himself a cup of coffee. According to the California Highway Patrol, the driver stated that he did feel fatigued at this time.
Apparently the jolt of caffeine was not enough to keep the driver alert. One passenger told the media that he could feel the bus weaving as the driver jerked the wheel repeatedly on the highway, in a pattern that seemed like the driver was fading in and out of alertness. Finally, the passenger heard a loud sound “like a lightning strike hit the bus,” followed by about 10 seconds of scraping as the bus slid along the median and eventually came to rest on its side.
Although the California Highway Patrol has not yet given an official cause for the accident, they have confirmed that drug and alcohol use have been ruled out.
Compensation for Bus Passengers?
Based on the testimony of the passengers, it seems likely that driver fatigue will be established as the official cause of the accident. If this is the case, Greyhound will be liable for their employee’s actions and should end up providing compensation to the accident victims and their families.
If you have been injured in a bus accident of any kind—as a bus passenger or as a motorist or pedestrian hit by a bus—make sure you have an experienced bus accident injury attorney on your side. To talk to Fernando D. Vargas about your bus accident, please contact us at 909-982-0707 and request your free initial consultation.