A horrific bus crash late last week left 10 dead near Orland. The driver of a Fed Ex truck veered across the Interstate 5 median, hit a sedan, and collided with a bus which was carrying high school students. An investigation of the scene shows the Fed Ex driver did not apply his brakes. Students escaped through windows before the two vehicles exploded. Ten people were killed, including five students, three chaperones, and the drivers of the bus and the Fed Ex truck.

Federal investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are reviewing the crash to consider if any new rules should be put into place to protect bus passengers. Starting in November 2016, all new large motor coaches and other large buses must have three-point lap-shoulder belts. However, it’s not clear that the new rule is sufficient by itself to protect bus passengers. The bus involved in the crash had seatbelts, but passengers were killed and were thrown from the bus. Experts say that without anyone to enforce a rule about buckling up, it’s unlikely that many bus passengers will buckle their seatbelts.

Another issue the investigators are examining is making buses less vulnerable to fires. This issue has been important to the NTSB since 2005, when 23 nursing home residents escaping a hurricane died in a bus fire. Investigators will examine the materials and design of the bus involved in this accident in order to determine what could be done to help buses withstand fires. Currently, the federal government is considering mandating fire suppression systems in 2015. The systems are similar to extinguishers which will automatically help extinguish the first sparks of fire, but aren’t sufficient for huge fires that occur after accidents.

A final issue the investigators are expected to consider is emergency exit windows. The bus involved in the crash had emergency exits through almost every window, and students escaped through them after the crash. Investigators are expected to examine them to see if they could be easily opened and are well labeled.

It’s unclear to investigators exactly what caused this accident. However, the bus’s black box was recovered, which will help let investigators know the cause of the accident. They will also look at blood tests of the drivers, as well as the vehicles’ maintenance histories and the drivers’ medical histories. The drivers of both vehicles had clean driving histories at the time of the crash. It’s expected to take months for investigators to determine what caused the accident.

Although discovering the cause of this accident may not offer much comfort for the families, it can help immensely in helping to prevent other crashes like this one. When an automobile accident occurs, the party responsible for the accident is legally liable for all damages that occur, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death, and more. The family members of loved ones who are killed in accidents may also have a legal right to compensation for their damages. The employer of the driver, the driver’s insurance company, or the driver’s own personal assets may be available to help pay your damages.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident caused by another party, such as another driver or his or her employer, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland automobile accident attorney. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that those who are injured in automobile accidents are entitled to compensation from the responsible parties. Call Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. Liberty Law helps clients in Oakland, San Francisco, Tracy, Fairfield, Hayward, Berkeley, and more. Contact Liberty Law to schedule a free consultation on your case.

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