Bus Driver Distracted Driving Causes Fatal Accidents
According to the DOT’s National Highway Safety Administration, in 2014, 3179 people were killed and an estimated 431,000 were injured crashes involving distracted driving. Five seconds is the average time a driver takes their eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time for a bus to go the length of a football field blindfolded. And yet, bus driver distracted driving continues to cause fatal bus crashes.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) banned commercial truck and bus drivers from texting while and later banned all hand-held cell phone use by commercial drivers. Employers and bus operators need to follow the government’s lead by enforcing their policies on cell phone use while driving.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. This can include bus passengers, cell phone use, reading billboards, or rubbernecking. Bus driver distractions include:
- Making or taking calls on your cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Dealing with bus passengers
- Reading maps, directions, or job orders
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video on YouTube or Facebook
- Posting to Facebook or using social media
But, because texting and posting require visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is the most lethal of all distractions.
Bus Operators & Owners Must Set Distracted Driving Policies
Bus owners and operators must go a step further than what the law requires to keep passengers safe. Owners and operators should come up with policies that require their drivers to put down the phone. Drivers must focus on driving. Policies can include:
- No cell phone use while the bus is in motion or stopped at a light. This includes answering or making phone calls, and reading or responding to emails, instant messages, and text messages.
- Pull over to a safe location to use the phone.
- Bus drivers must:
- Turn cell phones off or put them on silent or vibrate before starting the bus.
- Modify voice mail greetings to indicate that you are unavailable to answer calls while driving.
- Let others know about this policy as an explanation of why calls may not be returned immediately.
- Disciplinary actions for failing to adhere to these policies. This may mean termination for drivers who cannot keep their eyes off their phone and on the road.
Distraction.gov offers sample policies for employers. Because buses carry a lot of people, they must be careful. Since buses are so heavy, they can cause a lot of damage to other cars.
Contact a Houston Bus Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured in a bus accident caused by a distracted driver, you might need an attorney to help you hold the responsible parties accountable. The driver may not be solely at fault. Bus owners may be at-fault if they’ve allowed a driver with a history of distracted or dangerous driving to continue to drive. Contact Chelsie King Garza today to discuss your legal rights.