Charges Set for Driver in Bus Crash Accused of Falling Asleep at the Wheel

06/17/2015 // JusticeNewsFlash // (press release)

A Detroit bus driver accused of falling asleep while operating a city bus is expected to be charged in connection with a crash police say he caused. Authorities have not released the name of the 65-year-old driver involved in the accident, which occurred in October. The driver was operating a SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation) bus when he crossed the center line and crashed into an SUV prior to hitting additional vehicles. One passenger who was riding the bus was reportedly not injured in the crash.

Source: ABC News Report “Detroit Bus Driver to Be Charged After Alleged On-Duty Doze Leads to Crash”

“After a four-month investigation, authorities said today the driver of a city bus who police said fell asleep at the wheel and then slammed into eight vehicles in suburban Detroit will be charged.”

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Video footage of the crash has been released by authorities.

Source: Fox 28 Report “Video shows bus crash after police say driver fell asleep”

“WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – Authorities have released video showing crashes that happened after police say a 65-year-old bus driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit several vehicles in suburban Detroit.”

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The video shows the driver making an attempt to slam on his brakes and swerve, but being unsuccessful at avoiding a collision. According to police, two other motorists sustained injuries in the crash. The driver will reportedly face a charge of a 93-day misdemeanor after reportedly admitting to authorities that he fell asleep while driving.

West Bloomfield police Det. Lt. Curt Lawson is quoted as stating to ABC News affiliate WXYZ-TV of the serious accident, “This accident, the crash scene was actually a half-a-mile long… It was one of the biggest accidents that we have ever investigated in West Bloomfield history. It took four months to complete this investigation. … We've very fortunate no one was killed during this incident.”

City bus accidents occur for a number of reasons, and in many cases result from driver negligence. Among the most commonly reported types of negligence is driving while fatigued, which can put drivers at risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Sleep deprivation is an impairment that reportedly leads to over 100,000 crashes annually according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A past Harvard Medical School study also revealed that approximately 250,000 drivers fall asleep while driving on average each day.

Some suggest that when accidents occur that involve fatigued or sleep deprived city bus drivers, it can deter some commuters from choosing the public mode of transportation, even if only for a short while.

Says New York based bus accident attorney Jonathan C. Reiter, who handles related legal claims, “in cases like the accident in Detroit where charges against bus drivers are filed as a result of apparent negligence it can impact the public perception of the safety of utilizing city transportation.”

Still millions of people rely on such transportation for commuting to school, work, and other places throughout the U.S. daily. A number of environmentalists and transportation officials have over the years advocated for initiatives used to increase ridership of public transportation modes like city buses, emphasizing outlined cost and environmental benefits. According to statistics from the American Public Transportation Association, 14 percent of Americans utilize public transportation on a daily basis.

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