A group returning from a birthday party in a shuttle bus suffered tragedy when the bus overturned after colliding with a car. The accident took place just south of Washington D.C. on Interstate 95 when the sedan allegedly swerved into the bus’s lane. One person was killed and 16 others were rushed to area hospitals with injuries. The driver of the car, 31-year-old Raphael Manuel Barrientos, did not stop, but was apprehended later that day and charged with felony hit-and-run. David Alberto Sanchez, 24, of Woodbridge was identified as the fatality victim. The group was attending a birthday party for a co-worker and was returning to Prince William County where the passengers lived. Nine people were ejected from the bus, which was owned by American Transportation.
BUS ACCIDENTS OFTEN DEADLY DUE TO LACK OF SAFETY RESTRAINTS
In the past, bus accidents have been rare but often deadly due to the lack of safety restraints in many of these vehicles. While more buses now have safety restraints, not everyone uses them, and not all bus drivers require them to do so. State laws are slowly catching up in this regard, but the habit of not belting up on a bus remains a strong one, even for people who normally wear seat belts in their personal vehicles. The problem with failure to use safety restraints on buses is that it makes injury or death far more likely. In fact, the chances of being killed in a rollover crash are much greater if the person is not buckled in. According to the National Institutes of Health, ejection rates increased from less than three percent to more than 23 percent when occupants were unbelted during rollover crashes. Light trucks and vans had a far higher percentage of rollover crashes than passenger cars, as well. Shuttle buses, which could be considered a type of van, have a chance of rolling over that is twice as great as that of a passenger car. Therefore, the higher risk of rollover means that all passengers in a van or shuttle bus should be belted in at all times. Bernstein & Poisson are personal injury attorneys in Las Vegas, Nevada, who are able to work with the victims of bus and other accidents to help them recover damages. If you have been the victim of any type of accident that causes injury, be sure to contact Bernstein & Poisson for a consultation to discuss your case.