A crash between a Los Angeles Metro bus and an SUV injured at least six people including the bus driver. The collision occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, August 30, and pushed the bus into a building. Luckily, most of the injuries were reportedly minor. Officials have not said who caused the bus crash, but an investigation is underway. The crash is a reminder of the importance of continually improving measures to ensure bus passengers safety.
Metro Bus and SUV Collided on Broadway in Downtown LA
The collision occurred at around 1:00 a.m. on August 30 when an SUV crashed into a Los Angeles Metro bus in downtown Los Angeles. As the vehicles entered the intersection of Broadway and 9th Street, they collided. The force of the crash pushed the bus into a light pole and then into a building. Damage to the building was significant enough that an inspector red tagged the building.
“I heard a crash, but this crash kept going and going and going,” said Oscar Esquivel, a witness. “It almost felt like a train was coming.”
According to reports, the bus sustained significant damage, including to the front windshield. An inspector from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will examine the building to ensure it is safe before anyone is allowed back inside.
Up to Eight People Injured in L.A. Bus Accident
Injury reports vary, but up to eight people were taken to the hospital after the Los Angeles Metro bus crash, most with minor injuries. Six bus passengers were treated for scrapes and bruises, but one of the drivers was treated for a broken leg. The SUV’s driver and one other person were taken to the hospital in serious condition, but their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Fortunately, although people were standing on the curb, none were injured by either the bus or the tree or pole the bus struck after it jumped the curb.
Although officials have not said what caused the crash, LAPD Det. Ross Nemeroff noted they suspect either the SUV or the bus ran a red light.
Transit Bus in Tampa Also Crashes Into Building
The bus crash in Los Angeles was not the only one in August involving a bus and a building. At around 8:30 a.m. on August 18, a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) bus crashed into a Tampa building after it failed to turn properly. Before the accident, the bus was traveling south on Armenia Avenue toward Swann, but did not to execute a turn onto Swann. The bus then hit a palm tree and crashed into a building.
No one in the building was injured, although six people on the bus were taken to area hospitals for minor injuries, including bus driver Josett Sergeant. Sergeant has reportedly worked for HART since January 2017. Tampa police and HART are investigating the cause of the crash.
“[The bus driver] lost control and went into the building,” said HART spokesperson Sandra Morrison.
Bus Safety a Source of Concern
Safety advocates have called for increased bus safety, including stronger measures to protect passengers on transit buses, charter buses and school buses. Of specific concern is a lack of seat belts on certain buses, which increases the risk of passenger ejection in the case of a rollover accident. Another issue is driver fatigue, which is compounded by some bus drivers working split shifts.
A 2010 study of bus drivers in Florida found that 61 percent of bus drivers included in the survey worked split shifts, with some having no break between the shifts and others having up to six hours between shifts. Researchers further found that a minimum off-duty period of eight hours might not be enough to ensure bus drivers do not suffer from fatigue.
Researchers also found that fatigue increased cumulatively with each day and hour worked. A bus driver working a split shift two days in a row will have a higher peak fatigue level on the second day than on the first. Researchers noted that after fatigue has begun to accumulate, the bus driver needs an adequate period of rest to recover or the fatigue will continue to grow.
Finally, researchers found that there was a “statistically strong association” between the bus drivers’ fatigue level and the risk of a crash, with more than 55 percent of accidents linked to bus drivers whose fatigue level was “red” (meaning their fatigue score was higher than their fatigue tolerance level).
“It can fairly be surmised from these results that a large proportion of the fatigue related transit crashes happening to transit buses might be caused by the operators working split schedules,” researchers wrote.