Commercial vehicles do not operate with the same ease as smaller vehicles on the highway. Those that transport people, such as buses, require special licensing and training for drivers. In addition, due to the size of their vehicles, commercial drivers may need to use special equipment, such as collision warning sensors, to assist them in navigating. The driver of a charter bus carrying New York high school students recently learned this lesson the hard way.
The bus was traveling on the Southern State Parkway from JFK Airport where it had picked up 38 students and five chaperones returning from a European trip. At just after 9 p.m., the bus driver, without slowing down, went under an overpass, apparently not realizing that the bridge was too low for the height of the bus. The force of the impact sheared off the top of the bus, seriously injuring two 17-year-old passengers.
Since the parkway with its low overpasses was constructed before the 1950s, it was not intended for commercial vehicles, and signs in the area indicate this. Additionally, the bus was not equipped with a commercial-grade GPS system that may have warned the driver of the approaching hazard. Instead, the driver was using his personal GPS system.
While the bus driver has yet to be charged with any offenses, the incident has caused discussion about the importance of collision warning sensors on commercial vehicles. Departments of Transportation throughout New York are testing electronic sensors on low overpasses. Meanwhile, drivers of commercial vehicles facing the repercussions of accidents such as this one can certainly benefit from the counsel of an experienced attorney.
Source: abc7ny.com, “Non-commercial GPS eyed in Long Island bus crash that injured dozens“, April 10, 2018