The recent arrest of a bus driver for suspected driving under the influence on Interstate 95 outside of Orlando brings to mind the responsibility that bus line operators have for ensuring the safety of their passengers and others on the road as well as the question, “Who can be sued after a motor vehicle accident?”
Fortunately, there was no wreck, and nobody was hurt before the late August arrest of the Greyhound bus driver near Mims after he had failed a field sobriety test, according to WKMG Local 6 in Orlando.
It was a passenger on the bus who called police and reported that the driver was driving recklessly, “almost ran a car off the road” and, at 70 mph, was continually drifting between the shoulder of the road and the far left lane of the interstate, Local 6 reports.
Greyhound Bus Lines told the TV station they have a “zero-tolerance policy” when it comes to substance abuse, but the company would not comment further, according to Local 6.
Bus Operators Can Be Held Liable for Accidents Caused by Drivers
Bus crashes that cause injury and death are all too common in Florida. In the last month alone, three accidents have made headlines that involved these commercial vehicles:
- September 22 – Car-bus collision injures 19 in Hendry County
- September 16 – Bicyclist hit, killed by Miami-Dade County transit bus in Hialeah
If the driver of the bus caused by the accident due to the driver’s negligence or recklessness, the driver is not the only party who can be held liable by victims. The bus company could possibly be on the hook as well.
Generally, there are two reasons why a bus company could be held liable:
First, the company could be responsible for the acts of its employee, the driver, if the driver was acting within the course and scope of his or her employment at the time of the crash.
Second, the company could be liable for its own negligence in hiring, training or supervising its drivers. For example, a bus company may have failed to conduct a background check that would have indicated that it was unsafe to put the driver on the road.
For instance, if a company failed to check or find problems such as a driver’s history of DUIs and hired the driver, and that driver later caused a crash that injured or killed others, the bus company would be exposed to liability.
Additionally, a bus company could be held responsible for failing to properly inspect and maintain its fleet. A crash, for example, could be caused by defective tires, brakes or other gear on a bus.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident that was caused by a bus driver or the operator of another commercial motor vehicle such as a tractor-trailer, it is important to seek help from an experience motor vehicle accident attorney.
The lawyer’s role in representing you would include conducting a thorough investigation and taking action against all parties who bear responsibility, including the company that put a dangerous driver or vehicle on the road in the first place.