Posted in Bus Accident on June 7, 2019
Almost everyone at some point in their life has taken the bus. When we enter a bus, we put our trust into the driver that we will arrive at our destination safely. There are several reasons why taking the bus is a responsible decision; less cars on the road mean less traffic congestion and air pollution and can take the stress of driving out of a person’s daily commute. However, as with all forms of transportation, distracted driving can make a standard bus ride turn deadly.
Most people are familiar with the ways that we can become distracted while driving our own vehicles. While several states have laws against texting and driving, this rule is frequently broken. Using a GPS, playing music, and talking on the phone are just a few ways that people can get distracted by their phones while they are driving. Eating, applying makeup, and tiredness are also extremely common forms of distracted driving that make up the most cases of non cellular distracted driving. We all know the ways to avoid distracted driving when we ourselves are behind the wheel, but what happens when we give up that trust to a bus driver? There are several ways for a bus driver to become distracted while they are driving that most normal drivers do not usually have to consider.
The most obvious cause of distracted driving is being on a cell phone. Even while using a hands free device, a person can become extremely distracted if they are in some way using their phone while they are driving. With the popularity of wireless headphones being on the rise, several people think that this is a safe way to take a call while driving. For a bus driver, this creates a myriad of problems. We all know how phone conversations can become distracting, but by having headphones in and focusing on a phone conversation, a bus driver is less likely to hear if there is a problem among passengers. While on the one hand, passenger conversation can be distracting in an of itself, a bus driver has to be alert to potential dangers both on the road and in their own vehicle. If a driver is distracted by a phone conversation and they have headphones in, they could potentially miss something that passengers are trying to communicate to them.
Bus drivers are carrying more passengers who can pose a distraction. Children running up and down bus aisles, fights over seats breaking out, someone playing loud music, these are all distractions that any bus driver has come up against. More people on a single vehicle (no matter how large) means more opportunity for distracted driving, which increases the likelihood that there could be an accident. The best way to ensure that you and your fellow passengers have a safe ride is by making sure you are not causing any unnecessary distractions that can take the driver’s attention away from the road. Of course if there is an emergency, alert the driver calmly so that they can pull over and assess the situation themselves.
Depending on the number of shifts they have taken, bus drivers can also face exhaustion while on the road. While there are states that regulate how many shifts a bus driver can take, there are those who do not, and by extension there are drivers who take on more shifts then they can handle. For anyone, driving behind the wheel if you are exhausted is extremely dangerous, but for a bus driver, that risk is multiplied when you have other passengers to account for.
Taking the bus is a smart decision for a number of reasons, but having a driver who knows how to mitigate distractions is paramount to a safe driving experience.