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How safe is that bus and its driver?

Many people use commercial buses to get from Point A to Point B, both locally and long distance. From a safety standpoint, traveling via bus is generally a pretty safe mode of transportation. However, when an accident occurs, consequences can be dire. Learn some of the factors that enhance the risk so you can proactively avoid them whenever possible.

-- Speeding. Some bus drivers are under enormous pressure from supervisors and company owners to meet impossible deadlines on unrealistic driving schedules that leave little time for rest.

-- Distracted driving behaviors. Some of the worst offenders are using cellphones and other electronic devices behind the wheel, drinking and eating, using maps and completing paperwork.

-- Not using the proper GPS devices intended for buses and being unaware of low clearances on underpasses and bridges.

-- Drivers who moonlight at other jobs where they don't have to report the hours they worked. This can mean that they didn't get enough rest and are not maintain driving proficiency standards.

-- Buses that have not been well-maintained, or that were not taken out of service and modified after recalls.

-- Buses with the wrong tires, or fitted with improperly inflated, worn or damaged tires.

-- The emergency exits don't work or are blocked.

-- Striking pedestrians with the side mirrors due to drivers' lack of awareness.

-- Permitting guests on party buses to become intoxicated and act without regard to their own or others' safety, such as hanging out of windows, sunroofs or doors.

Those who get injured on public transportation due to an operator's error, another at-fault driver's negligence or other reasons have a right to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "10 Potentially Fatal Risks for Motorcoach Operators," accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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