The Merced County District Attorney’s Office has filed felony and misdemeanor charges against the bus driver who was involved in a bus accident that claimed four lives and injured several others last year near Livingston. According to a news report the bus driver faces four felony counts of vehicular manslaughter and five misdemeanor vehicle code violations. Car accidents are always unexpected and dangerous, so if you have been injured in a car accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence, contact a Newport car accident lawyer to help compensate you for your injuries.
What Caused This Accident?
The fatal bus crash occurred Aug. 2, 2016 outside Livingston in which four people died and eight passengers sustained serious injuries. The bus driver was driving south on Highway 99 just south of Hammatt Avenue during the early morning hours when the bus left the roadway and crashed into a sign pole. The pole sheared the bus, crushing rows of seats. Several injured passengers lost limbs due to amputation.
The investigative report did not indicate that the driver was on his cell phone at the time of the accident. However, cell phone records did show that he used his phone several times while driving the motor coach. The driver’s logbook, which is mandatory for commercial drivers, showed that he had slept only 6.5 hours the previous day. However, cell phone records contradict that he even slept that many hours. Therefore, officials believe driver fatigue was a major factor in the crash. Surviving passengers had described the driver as looking tired or drowsy. Officials said the driver’s extreme fatigue, violations of commercial regulations and repeated use of a cell phone showed negligence and lack of due care owed to bus passengers and everyone else on the road.
How Often Does Drowsy Driving Cause Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014, there were 846 fatalities that were drowsy-driving-related. These reported fatalities (and drowsy-driving crashes overall) have remained largely consistent across the past decade. Between 2005 and 2009 there was an estimated average of 83,000 crashes each year related to drowsy driving. This annual average includes almost 886 fatal crashes (2.5 percent of all fatal crashes), an estimated 37,000 injury crashes, and an estimated 45,000 property damage only crashes.
Drowsy driving doesn’t get as much attention as driving under the influence or distracted driving. However, sleepiness and driving are a dangerous combination. Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but don’t realize that drowsy driving can be just as lethal and dangerous. Like alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of crashing. Commercial drivers such as those who operate large trucks and passenger buses are required under the law to get sufficient rest before they get on the road.
Call Us For Help!
Drowsy driving is dangerous driving and it amounts to negligence. If you have been injured by a drowsy driver you may be able to receive compensation for your losses. The experienced Rhode Island auto accident lawyers at d’Oliveira & Associates can help you understand your legal rights and options. “Let us focus on your case, so you can focus on your recovery.” Call us toll-free at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online, for a no-cost consultation and no-obligation case assessment.