Death of Pedestrian Highlights Bus Crashes in Virginia
Bus crashes in Virginia are far less common than those involving cars, motorcycles, or even tractor-trailers. However, bus accidents are often serious when they occur. Even at low speeds, a giant bus can cause grave injuries and fatalities.
This week in Richmond, a Pulse bus hit and killed a woman as she crossed the road at West Broad Street near Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center. It was the first fatality to be caused by one of Greater Richmond Transit’s Pulse buses that started operation in 2018.
The system connects Rocketts Landing with Willow Lawn. It’s a modern service with frequent arrivals and state-of-the-art pedestrian-friendly stops as well as new bus lanes on Broad Street. Clearly, something went badly wrong.
Richmond police said the woman was crossing Broad Street when she was hit by an eastbound Pulse bus. She was knocked several feet across the intersection, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Initial reports suggest the pedestrian was in the bus lane and the bus driver had the right of way, police said. The vehicle has onboard cameras. The police will check video footage as part of the investigation. Our thoughts are with the family of the woman who died in this tragic accident.
How Common Are Bus Crashes in Virginia?
Many buses operate in busy urban areas like Norfolk, Richmond, or Portsmouth. Bus drivers face daily pressure to keep to timetables while battling congestion. We have seen a spate of crashes in Hampton Roads and elsewhere in Virginia as well as school bus accidents.
Earlier this year, a Hampton Roads Transit bus crashed into a pole at the intersection of Bart Street and Court Street in Portsmouth after a collision with a minivan. About 15 people were treated for injuries at local hospitals. Police charged the minivan driver with failure to yield at a left turn, reported WTKR.
In June, five passengers suffered injuries in Newport News when an HRT bus crashed into a church. Police said a car driver cut off the bus. Earlier this month, a car driver died in a crash with a school bus in Russell County in western Virginia. No students were on the bus at the time.
Although bus crashes are relatively uncommon, hundreds are reported every year in Virginia.
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles reported 579 bus crashes in Virginia in 2018 in its Crash Facts report. In 2017, Virginia police were called to 539 bus crashes with two deaths.
The 2018 crashes involved two deaths, 221 injuries, and 356 property damage wrecks. The report reveals 78 bus drivers and 206 passengers suffered injuries in Virginia bus wrecks.
Of bus drivers who caused wrecks, 26 made improper lane changes, 27 failed to yield, 27 made improper turns, and 32 were following too closely.
Bus crashes in Virginia represented 0.4 percent of all traffic accidents in the state in 2018.
What Are the Most Dangerous Types of Buses in Virginia?
Although we often read about school bus accidents in Hampton Roads and elsewhere in Virginia, the injuries sustained in these wrecks are usually minor. Students face greater dangers near school bus stops than when they are on the bus.
Some of the most serious bus wrecks in Virginia involved tour buses. In 2011, four passengers died and many more were injured when a tour bus flipped over on I-95 in Caroline County in Virginia. The driver fell asleep at the wheel. He was later convicted of four counts of involuntary manslaughter. That crash sparked a federal investigation of the tour bus industry. It found some tour bus operators were running a shoestring service with poorly matinee buses. Drivers were failing to get enough sleep. The investigation failed to stop the tour bus wrecks.
This year, another tour bus crashed on I-95 in Virginia. The bus ran off the side of an exit ramp in foggy weather, killing two passengers and seriously injuring many more. The bus was carrying 57 people, including the driver, when it wrecked in Prince George County, south of Richmond, Virginia State Police said. Police later charged the bus driver with manslaughter.
Talk to a Lawyer About Bus Crashes in Virginia
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, our attorneys help passengers who are injured in bus crashes. We represent bus drivers injured in wrecks caused by other motorists, other drivers, and pedestrians who were injured by buses. We also represent the families of those who died in wrongful death actions involving buses. Please talk to our Virginia bus accident injury team as soon as possible at (757) 204-1218 for a free consultation.