Articles Posted in Bus Accidents

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has decided to stop the use of a guardrail-end terminal over concerns that there may be safety issues. The rail-end guardrail pieces, known as the ET-Plus, are made by Trinity Industries of Texas. The manufacturer has already have been the subject of products liability lawsuits by motorists claiming they lost their legs in traffic crashes.

This week, a federal jury ruled that Trinity should pay $175 million in a whistleblower lawsuit that exposed the hazards involved with using the guardrail end caps. It was guardrail installer Josh Harman who accused Trinity of making the ET-Plus unsafe when the company redesigned it.

He sued Trinity under the False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions. As the whistleblower, Harman is entitled to a percentage of what is recovered. Because of statutory mandate, the $175 million figure is expected to triple.

According to an affidavit from the MBTA police, the 42-year-old bus operator who drove through a guardrail was holding a cell phone when the accident happened. Eight people sustained non-life threatening injuries in the Newton, MA bus crash on Sunday that left a bus to partially hang off a bridge over the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The bus operator, Mattapan resident Shanna Shaw, is charged with speeding, operating to endanger, impeded operation, and obstruction of justice. She initially told an investigator that she shut her eyes while driving because she’d sneezed. However, a closer look at surveillance footage showed that Shaw was holding something in her left hand at the time. Shaw later admitted it was an iPhone.

MBTA bus operators are not allowed to have a phone with them while on duty. Instant termination is the penalty for using a phone while driving at work.

A fiery truck crash involving a bus and a FedEx vehicle has claimed the lives of 10 people in Northern California. According to the CHP, the victims include the drivers of the two vehicles, five students, and three adult chaperones.

There were 19 students on the bus that was struck by the truck, which drove over a grassy median on the interstate to cause the collision. Over 30 people were hurt, sustaining burns, broken bones, head lacerations, broken noses, or other injuries. A number of them were hospitalized, some in serious condition.

The bus-truck crash caused the two vehicles to burst into flames, forcing one victim to be admitted to a hospital burn unit. That patient later died. The bus was one of three charter vehicles that were travelling 12 hours from the LA area to Humboldt State University, where the students were to go to college. The students are from different Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.

The MBTA now says that bus passengers aboard a Route 222 bus traveling down Washington Street in Quincy were forced to jump into action after the driver suffered an apparent seizure, according to multiple sources including WBZ and WCVB. Security camera footage from the moderately crowded bus shows the 37-year-old driver convulsing violently as some quick thinking passengers rushed into action.

The bus was heading toward the Fore River Bridge when the driver went into distress. One rider, Richard Hiort, grabbed the steering wheel and stepped on the break, bringing the bus safely to a stop while holding the driver up with his other hand. Speaking to WHDH news, Richard explained, “Basically I just held him. I grabbed onto the back of the chair. Back of the — one of the bars there, and just held him so he didn’t fall out of the seat.”
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Last week, many residents in the Boston area were excited to learn that the MBTA would be starting a yearlong trial of late night train service in the spring of 2014. The T’s current schedule has undergone scrutiny for many years, and many hope this will be the beginning of a permanent change. The move, which the Globe called “long over-due”, would benefit both those seeking to enjoy the city’s night life as well as workers with late night hours. However, extra hours mean that T passengers should take extra precautions to ensure their safety when traveling at night.

As always, you should remain aware of your surroundings and avoid isolated stops. Hold your belongings close to your body and don’t leave them unattended to avoid unnecessary security alerts. Train operators and the MBTA Transit Police are easily accessible via intercoms at the end of each train car. Avoid risks of physical injury by walking, not running, on the escalators, standing a safe distance from the yellow line, and not blocking closing train doors. When you take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety, the MBTA is responsible for the rest.
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The parents of David Plamondon have settled their wrongful death lawsuit with the University of Connecticut for $5.5 million. Linda and George Plamondon, who are from Westminster, Massachusetts, sued the school shortly after their 20-year-old son was struck by a campus shuttle bus while in a campus crosswalk in 2011. The driver of the bus, Lucasz Gilewski, also was a student. He who would go on to plead no contest to the criminal charge of negligent homicide and serve time in probation.

David sustained fatal injuries after he was run over by the bus’ tires. His parents contended that Gilewski, who police say was driving under the speed limit but wasn’t looking at the road when he hit David, was reckless and careless. The Plamondons are blaming the state for Gilewksi’s misconduct and they asked that UConn stop employing students as shuttle bus drivers. This hiring practice continues to this day. The Plamondons believe that David’s death could have been prevented.

Campus Negligence

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, sending and reading text messages with a hands-free devices or talking on a cell phone without using your hands while driving are no less distracting than doing these activities manually. The AAA’s study comes as voice-activated technologies that let people talk, text, and Facebook while driving continue to grow in popularity. This is the most comprehensive study of its kind to date. In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston injury lawyers if you believe that your car crash injuries or a loved one’s death was caused by a negligent driver.

Per the study, which sought to gauge how mental or cognitive distraction affect driving, even these hands-free devices don’t take away the mental distraction that can arise from engaging in so many other activities while operating a motor vehicle. As the mind becomes more distracted, the brain’s reaction capabilities slow down, as does its ability to detect vital cues on the road, including pedestrians and stop signs.

These findings are important for hands-free device manufacturers and also makers to know so that they can make sure that consumers don’t end up thinking that these types of products make it safer to text and talk while driving. AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet even called the surge in hands-free technology a “public safety crisis” just waiting to happen.

According to State Police, at least 34 Massachusetts middle school kids who sustained minor injuries in a Newton bus accident were sent to local hospitals today. Neck pain, head pain, and back pain, were among the complaints raised by some of the children, while others suffered bumps and bruises.

The bus collision was a three-vehicle accident that occurred early in the morning. Even though the incident is still under investigation, police say it appears that the bus rear-ended another auto that was stopped at a traffic light, propelling that motor vehicle into another stopped vehicle.

Rear-End Crashes A rear-end accident can result in injuries for everyone involved. Often, it is those in the car that is rear ended who will experience the brunt of impact and potentially suffer from soft tissue injuries, whiplash, disc damage, carpal tunnel injuries, knee injuries, ankle injuries, traumatic brain injury, head injury, and burns. That said, those in the vehicle that that did the rear-ending are not immune from getting hurt-especially if the auto was moving at a fast speed and was forced to abruptly stop by slamming into the car in front of it.

According to a survey conducted by AT & T, 49% of the adult motorists that participated said the have texted while driving. Compare that to 43% of teen drivers that were asked in another survey in 2012. 98% of all respondents said they know that distracted driving is unsafe.

Multitasking is never beneficial while behind the steering wheel of the car. At Altman & Altman, our Boston personal injury lawyers represent clients who suffered serious injuries because of a distracted driving. Texting, talking on the cell phone, reading, surfing the Internet, and sending emails while driving can lead to catastrophic Massachusetts car crashes.

Per the At & T report, which is part of its “It Can Wait” campaign to get drivers to stop texting while behind the wheel, the number of motorists that text appears to be going up instead of down. Out of every 10 respondents, six of them said they didn’t text while driving three years ago. Meantime, 40% of those that do text while driving admit that this is an actual habit rather than a rare occurrence.

A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of 16-year-old Matthew Cruz. The teenager is still in the hospital after he sustained critical injuries when the bus he was a passenger in crashed into a low overpass on Soldier Field Road.

35 people were injured. The vehicle had been transporting students back from a field trip to Harvard University in Cambridge.

Cruz is represented by the Philadelphia law firm Anapol Schwartz. According to Cruz’s attorneys, the teenager sustained serious injuries to his neck and head, still cannot move his legs of his own accord, and remains intubated. He is not expected to be able to participate in normal activities in the near future. Cruz has already undergone over a dozen hours of surgery to treat his fractures and vertebrae and his condition has reportedly put him at risk of other dangerous health issues.

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