Are Tourist Buses Really Safe?

After last week’s crash involving a tourist bus in Texas, a great deal of attention has suddenly been put on the tourist bus industry.  Questions about safety, maintenance, and training are drawing the most attention in these talks, and serious considerations may be made by both Federal and State regulatory commissions.  But are the buses themselves an issue?

This question is particularly important for us to ask, as Orlando, FL is one of the largest tourist destinations in the U.S.  Many of those tourist will spend at least part of their trip on a tourist bus either going to and from the airport. to the beach, to or from a cruise ship,  to or from one of the many theme parks, or on their way to some other destination.  You simply can’t drive down the highway near Orlando without seeing one or many tourist buses.

According to the NTSB, more than 700 million people per year ride buses in the U.S.  That’s nearly as many people as there are in the entire European Union.  The safety record for buses is one of the best.  Only aircraft have a better safety record in comparison to the number of travellers.  But the numbers are changing.

Between 2000 and 2007 there were only 1,093 fatalities and 1,315 injuries involving large buses.  However in 2009 alone there were over 250 fatalities and 20,000 injured in bus accidents.  It is obvious something must be happening in the industry to cause this extreme upward trend.  This is when it becomes important that you as a consumer do something to protect yourself.

Here are some suggestions we’ve come up with to ensure you are riding as safely as possible when you  are on a tourist bus:

  1. Pay attention to the Driver:  While the cause of last week’s accident in Texas has yet to be determined, in past accident reconstructions driver error or driver distraction have shown to be one of the leading causes.  Make sure your driver is paying attention and keeping their eyes on the road.
  2. Don’t Distract the Driver:  It’s important that you and your family don’t become a distraction to the driver as well.  Make sure any children are kept calm, and make sure that noise levels are kept to a minimum.
  3. Check out the Bus Company beforehand:  Make sure the company you’re riding with has a long and safe tradition.  If you do a simple online search you can usually find whether or not a company has had a history of accidents or breakdowns.  Avoid companies that have these histories.
  4. Ask the Driver How Long they’ve been Driving:  It’s not insulting to ask how long a person has done their job.  Drivers with long histories have proven their ability to do the job.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it anymore.
  5. Ride on Newer Buses:  Safety measures have come a long way in the tourist bus industry.  Not only do they have more creature comforts, they also have more safety features built in.  The newer the bus, the more likely it is to have those safety features.

Of course the likelihood of your being in an accident while travelling on a bus in minimal, it is always best to be as safe as possible.  We want you to enjoy your time in Orlando, and we want you to feel safe and secure in your travels around our state.

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an incident while on vacation in Orlando, know that we are here to help.  Whether you are in an accident involving a tourist bus, harmed while visiting a theme park, or otherwise injured, it is best to have an attorney who is local and understands the intricacies of these cases.  We specialize in tourist cases and are here to assist you if you have questions, or need representation.

Wooten Kimbrough, P.A.  Orlando Tourist Injury Attorneys



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