Bus Crash in Virginia Injures 15 as Greyhound Bus Runs off the Interstate
Buses are a safer form of transportation than cars, motorcycles, or trucks. However, when crashes occur, they often result in multiple casualties. In the latest bus crash in Virginia, 15 people were hospitalized when a Greyhound bus ran off the interstate in Caroline County.
The bus carrying 43 passengers crashed this month on Interstate 95. WTVR News reported first responders attended the crash close to the intersection with Route 639. Virginia State Police said the bus was heading north on the interstate when it ran off the road and ended up on an embankment. No other vehicles were involved in the crash and no reason was given for the bus running off the road. Police said none of the injuries sustained were reported to be life-threatening.
Other Serious Crashes in Virginia Involving Buses
Bus crashes in Virginia are thankfully rare but can be very serious when they occur. In 2014, a party bus flipped over in Lorton County, ejecting 16 passengers. One of them was killed. Police blamed a hit-and-run driver for the wreck.
Caroline County was also the scene of one of the worst bus crashes in recent years in Virginia. The bus accident on I-95 in 2011 left four passengers dead and many more than 50 people injured. The charter bus driver was later sentenced to six years in prison. He admitted to authorities that he fell asleep at the wheel causing the charter bus to run off the road. The Virginia bus wreck led to a high-level investigation into safety standards in the charter bus industry.
Citing Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records, the Washington Post reported that buses owned by the tour bus company, Charlotte, N.C.-based Sky Express Inc., had been involved in four crashes, with one injury or fatality in the two years before the Virginia bus crash. Its drivers were cited for 17 unsafe driving violations, including eight for speeding from 2009 to 2011. It received a 62.9 percent rating, meaning it performed worse than nearly 63 percent of comparable transportation companies.
The Department of Transportation shut down a handful of charter bus companies after its investigation into the I-95 wreck. Unfortunately, the spate of crashes involving charter buses has continued.
Two years ago, a charter bus veered off a foggy I-95 ramp in Prince George County, Virginia, killing two people and injuring many others. The Times-Dispatch reported the 40-year-old bus driver from Staten Island, N.Y., was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Virginia State Police said speed was considered a factor in the fatal charter bus crash in Virginia.
Greyhound buses have been involved in a spate of serious crashes in the past. In 2019, the bus company was ordered to pay $27 million to a passenger who was badly injured and lost his leg in a Greyhound crash in Pennsylvania that killed another passenger.
Should Action Be Taken?
Recent charter bus crashes raise concerns about safety standards in the charter bus industry. The industry expanded rapidly over the last two decades. However, critics point to a lack of regulation in the low-cost bus sector. The NTSB has acknowledged that accident reporting in the industry is so haphazard and inaccurate that there is no way to gauge just how safe America’s buses are. Notwithstanding recent incidents, studies show bus travel is safer than car travel, in particular urban transit buses. Research published in 2016 by the American Public Transit Association found transit trips are 10 times safer than car travel.
There is no room for complacency. The COVID pandemic has caused a chronic shortage of drivers, both for school buses and transit buses. Past crashes provided plenty of evidence that charter bus drivers were often inexperienced and forced to drive for long periods. We are concerned more inadequately trained or poor drivers could end up behind the wheels of buses, placing the lives of dozens of passengers in their hands. If you or a family member has been hurt in a bus crash, please contact our Virginia bus accident attorneys.