Two people were killed and at least six others were injured in a bus accident involving a Greyhound bus, which overturned on a slick Highway 101 in San Jose. According to a news report in the San Jose Mercury News, the fatal bus crash occurred the morning of January 19, 2016. The bus left Los Angeles the previous night and was heading to stops in downtown San Jose and San Francisco en route to Oakland. One of the passengers said the driver of the bus, who admitted to being fatigued, was dozing off in the moments leading up to the crash.
Officials have not yet released a cause for the accident, which they say, is under investigation. A witness who was trailing the bus before the crash told officials that about 200 feet before a flyover ramp, the bus changed into the carpool lane, lost traction, got airborne and landed on its right ride. Witnesses described people lying face down in the concrete. Most of the people on the bus were asleep at the time of the crash. Witnesses told officials that the driver also appeared to be nodding off the wheel and that he was weaving and jerking the wheel from sheer fatigue. Twenty passengers were on the bus at the time.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members and friends of those who were killed in this crash. We wish all the injured victims the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
The Role of Fatigue
Bus crash deaths have been on the rise in California over the last few years. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were four bus accident fatalities in 2010, one in 2011, none in 2012, but 11 in 2013 and 17 in 2014. We still don’t have the numbers for 2015. But this statistical trend is deeply disturbing indeed.
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was dozing off and even tried to keep himself awake with coffee in the minutes leading up to this tragic crash. We trust officials are looking into how long the driver had been behind the wheel and how many hours of rest he had before getting behind the wheel. In such cases where driver error or negligence causes a crash, both the driver and his employer can be held financially responsible for the victims’ injuries, damages and losses.
Protecting Victims’ Rights
In the aftermath of such a traumatic event, it is important to get prompt medical attention. Family members who have lost loved one would be well advised to seek out grief counseling. It is also crucial to get pertinent information such as the driver’s name and license number, the bus’s license plate, the name of the operating company and the bus company’s insurance information. Try to take photos of the accident scene and get contact information for any eyewitnesses. Victims or their families would also be well advised to contact an experienced California bus accident attorney who will fight hard to ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected.