The recent spate of inclement weather in Maryland was responsible for a slew of highway crashes. The largest accident has been called the worst in Baltimore’s recent history; more than sixty vehicles piled up on the highway after a fuel tanker slid off a bridge and exploded when it struck the roadway below. The massive accident killed two and injured dozens; traffic was snarled for hours as first responders worked amidst freezing conditions to get victims to safety.
Just one mile ahead of the conflagration and resulting pileup, the victims of another smaller pileup were forced to wait hours for emergency services to respond. An eastern Kentucky tour bus en route to New York City slid on ice and crashed into a box truck that had struck other vehicles. Passenger Katrina Conley told WYMT, “We had to sit on the bus for like three hours because the fire department got to us but they couldn’t get any ambulances to us. They said they had like 60 ambulances out, and I guess at the time the other wreck… had more serious injuries… so most of the ambulances went there.”
An accident that shouldn’t have happened
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulation §392.14, “Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions… adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.”
Essentially, the decision as to whether conditions are too hazardous to continue is up to the driver. As with any provision that relies on individual decision, the basis for evaluation becomes a standard of care; in other words, actions are judged on the basis of whether the majority of people with similar qualifications would make the same decision in similar circumstances. Determining a breach of standard of care is often complicated, but in this case, it’s fairly straightforward. The sheer number of accidents that occurred that day offers overwhelming evidence that travel conditions were hazardous at best.
Passengers have rights
Common carriers like this tour bus are not exempt from the threats of the road; when bad judgment and poor conditions coincide, people get hurt. A driver is responsible for the health and safety of all passengers. If a commercial driver’s risky behavior caused you harm, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and lost wages. The experienced Kentucky common carrier attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call our Kentucky bus accident attorneys at 877.651.7764, our Ohio bus accident attorneys at 877.686.8879 or contact us today for a free consultation.