A suburban Chicago man recently died in a crash with a school bus full of college students from the University of Wisconsin at Madison on Dec. 6. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the chartered bus was taking 17 students from UW’s German Club home from Chicago’s Chirstkindlmarket, traveling along Interstate 90 just outside Chicago. A sedan entered the highway, immediately veered across traffic lanes and ended up sideways in the path of the bus. The crash killed the driver instantly, the article said. Luckily, no one on the bus was seriously hurt and no other vehicles were involved.
The article doesn’t give a cause for the accident, but given the description of the accident and details in the article, weather looks like an important factor. Unfortunately, Illinois has seen several weather-related traffic deaths in the last few weeks, including one that killed two elderly parishioners from an Edgewater church. Life must go on even when the roads are snowy or icy, but drivers should be aware of the danger. The Illinois Department of Transportation maintains a page with tips for safe winter driving.
As a Chicago bus accident lawyer, I happen to know that bus accidents are statistically rare. According to research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, buses were involved in just 0.5% of all accidents in 2006; only “other vehicles,” such as motor homes and tractors, have lower accident rates. The numbers for intercity buses are even lower — 0.1% of fatal crashes. Part of this may be because buses are driven by professionals with special licenses, which means drivers have special training. They are also generally at work when they drive, which gives almost everyone an incentive to behave better than they might when driving on their own time.
However, that’s not to say that bus accidents aren’t very serious. Basic physics means that a bus is likely to seriously hurt a smaller car and its driver in an accident, especially one at highway speeds. Furthermore, the lack of seat belts or other safety technology on most buses may put bus passengers at risk as well. In some cases, this can translate to serious injuries — head injuries, broken bones, spinal damage or even death. At Abels & Annes, our Illinois auto accident lawyers handle accidents with buses — school buses, transit and charter — as well as more the common traffic accidents with cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles. If you or someone you love has been hurt in this type of accident and you believe it was caused by someone else’s negligence, please contact Abels & Annes today for a free consultation.