When faced with rising energy costs, many people turn to public transportation for their daily commute. However, city buses do not offer the same safety features found in personal automobiles, such as air bags or seat belts. Consequently, bus passengers face risks that other commuters do not when relying on public transit to get them to their destinations. And, not only are there potential dangers for bus passengers, but also for pedestrians and other motorists that share the roadway with city buses.
According to recent statistics provided by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were approximately 24,000 people injured in bus crashes in 2008 nationwide. According to the New Mexico Department of Transportation, there were 364 bus accidents, including 2 fatalities and 72 injuries in New Mexico in 2008. These numbers may be under reported, as most injury statistics are gathered for those people who seek immediate medical attention.
Personal injuries received as a bus passenger may not be readily apparent right after a crash. It is wise to seek medical attention even if there are no visible signs of injury. Whiplash or other soft tissue injuries may not set in for several days.
On the other hand, injuries to pedestrians and other motorists are usually far more serious, due to the imbalance of weight and force involved with a bus collision. The average 40 foot city bus weighs 33,000 to 40,000 pounds, and Albuquerque has 24, 60-foot articulated buses weighing approximately 63,880 pounds each.
Even in the face of catastrophic injury there is some good news, as public transit systems are required by state and federal regulations to remain well insured. You may not have this same guarantee if you are hit by an uninsured motorist. However state and federal regulations may also have strict reporting limitations. There are a couple of particularly critical deadlines in most bus accident cases. These deadlines are real and they are rigid. Missing one will bar your claims completely.