According to NBC 10 Philadelphia, a recent bus crash that resulted in fourteen injuries is being blamed on a blown tire. The bus had departed from Philadelphia and was in route to New York when the bus accident occurred. Fortunately, the injuries were reportedly minor, but the blown tire still highlights one of the greatest dangers that passengers and drivers face from buses, vans, large trucks and other commercial vehicles.
Our Philadelphia accident attorneys know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes minimum maintenance requirements on motor carriers and on trucking companies. Unfortunately, maintenance problems can still develop and accidents can occur as a result. Tires, especially, can cause problems if the tires are older, defective, or over or under inflated.
Tire Blowouts Cause Serious Accidents
Tire blowouts are always a risk, but when they happen on large buses and trucks it is especially dangerous. A bus or truck can easily go out of control after a tire blowout, endangering every driver on the road due to the large size of the commercial vehicle. The blowout also puts passengers at risk when an accident happens.
In the recent accident involving the Philadelphia bus, the driver lost control of the vehicle as a result of the tire blowout. This caused the bus to crash through a guardrail and to slide down an embankment into a wooded area. It was very fortunate that the passengers were not seriously injured, and the bus company has indicated that all passengers will receive refunds for their tickets. While that may be all well and good, the truth of the matter is neck, back and spine injuries do not always immediately present themselves. Victims of such accidents should always protect their rights by consulting with an experienced law firm. In other cases, the company may even have downplayed the extent of injuries. And victims who accept payment or refund may be limiting their right to collect compensation for other loses, including medical expenses.
Law enforcement indicates that no charges will be filed in the incident. However, NBC Philadelphia also reported that this was one of several bus accidents that has occurred in recent months, with two other accidents causing either serious injuries or fatalities.
Maintenance Issues Increase Accident Risk
In this case, it is not clear whether the tire blowout was caused by a problem on the roadway or caused by a problem with the tires on the bus. In many cases, however, tire problems result from bus companies or truck companies failing to maintain their vehicles in the manner required by FMCSA.
A number of different maintenance requirements exist under the federal laws including:
- § 396.3, which mandates that “Every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must systematically inspect, repair, and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired, and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to its control.”
- § 396.17, which sets forth specific requirements for periodic inspections including the parts of the vehicle to be inspected and the records that must be kept of the inspection.
These rules are intended to ensure that vehicles do not fall into disrepair. An inspection should identify problems with tires that can lead to a blowout, including worn tire treads or tires that are not inflated to the proper level. If a bus company fails to perform inspections as required and a tire blowout or other problem occurs as a result, the company can be held liable for the consequences.
If you have been injured in a bus accident in Philadelphia, Bucks County or anywhere in Pennsylvania, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers at Flager & Associates, PC. Call us at 1-215-953-5200.