Common Causes of Accidents on Public Transportation

January 24, 2024 Personal injury

Public transportation has many benefits for mass transportation within communities. It’s an eco-friendly and affordable option and overall it’s typically a safe choice for arriving at your destination without incident. However, accidents and injuries on public transportation like city buses, subways, ferries, trolleys, and other public transit systems occur regularly, with over 6,000 reported injuries in 2021.

The risk of experiencing an accident or injury is greatest for those faced with using public transportation daily, but may also occur to less frequent users who may not know the common causes of accidents on public transit systems and how to avoid them.

Public transportation

Distracted Drivers

Bus drivers are often distracted, not only by cell phones and GPS systems but also by conversations with passengers and noise and activity on the bus. Operators of other mass transport vehicles also face common distractions. When a driver fails to maintain their focus on the road, it’s an act of negligence and sometimes results in distracted driving accidents such as running through red lights into an intersection, making unsafe lane changes, rear-end accidents, and collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. If a driver appears distracted behind the wheel, it’s best to get off at the next stop.

Overcrowded Conditions

When bus companies and other transport agencies fail to provide enough vehicles or drivers for their routes, it results in overcrowded conditions. Injuries are more likely to occur in overcrowded subways, trains, streetcars, and other transit vehicles. When conditions are crowded, some riders must remain standing, increasing the chances of falling, bumping, and knocking over other passengers. Overcrowding also increases the risk of theft and acts of violence.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Poorly maintained vehicles and faulty equipment are also common causes of accidents on mass transport systems. Poor maintenance leads to tire blowouts, brake failures, and other problems that may cause accidents. Equipment failures inside passenger cars also result in accidents from faulty doors and poorly maintained seats, steps, windows, and handrails.

Hazardous Platform Conditions

Common causes of accidents such as slip-and-fall injuries are poorly maintained or hazardous conditions on platforms and bus stops. Because travelers may run to catch their bus or train, slippery conditions, debris, loose or broken boards, and other hazards contribute to falls, broken bones, and head injuries. Poor lighting on platforms and bus stops may also cause falls and contribute to higher rates of theft and violent crime.

Public Transportation Accidents Caused by Third Parties

Negligent drivers, careless maintenance crews, and crowded conditions aren’t the only contributors to public transportation accidents. Other common causes are third parties such as negligent drivers in other vehicles, the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part, a negligent road or track maintenance agency, or a construction crew that left debris on the roads or tracks.

Proving Liability in Public Transportation Accidents

When someone is injured in a traffic accident or while boarding or riding a public transportation system, it often takes a skilled investigation to determine the case, the at-fault party, and the correct liable individual or business entity. Experienced Encino personal injury attorneys are well-versed in navigating this type of claim, often against the city government agencies who have the responsibility of taking all reasonable measures to ensure passenger safety.

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