10/16/2015 // 1-800 Car Wreck // (press release)
Houston, TX – The bridge railing at the site of a recent bus crash in Houston that resulted in the deaths of two students failed to meet “current acceptable standards” as reported by Houston bus accident attorney Amy Witherite of the Eberstein Witherite LLP firm. Media reports say that the bridge is one of hundreds in the city with the same issue.
Source: Click2Houston Report “Hundreds of bridge railings in Houston-area not up to current standards”
“HOUSTON – The bridge railing at the site of a deadly bus crash that killed two students is designated by the federal government as "not up to current acceptable standards." A KPRC 2 News investigation has located at least 415 other bridge railings in the Houston area with the same designation.”
Upon installation in 1970, the railing type met standards that showed it could prevent a vehicle built during that time frame from going over the bridge. However, crash researchers have said that the type of bridge railing used at the site had not been tested for decades.
Two Houston high school students were killed in a recent crash when a school bus went over the bridge after being hit by a passenger vehicle.
Source: #1800CarWreck Houston Reports School Bus Safety Probe Sought After Tragedy
“One of the students died at the scene, and the other died after being transported to a local hospital. An investigation into the cause and other circumstances of the crash continues.”
Despite claims by the Texas Department of Transportation, which is responsible for updates to the bridge, that both it and the railing are safe, some are now saying that the design of the railing was a contributing factor to not only the recent crash, but also one that occurred in 2008. According to the Click2Houston report “In 2008, a tour bus carrying a church group from Houston crashed in Sherman, Texas, and the National Transportation Safety Board found the railing on the bridge to be a contributing factor to the crash.”
What to Do When State Maintained Highways Are Unsafe
According to Houston attorney Witherite, road defects are a cause of many crashes that occur each year that most people feel they can do nothing about. Says the lawyer “there are major challenges to appropriating legal responsibility in serious crash cases to entities like the Texas Department of Transportation when their apparent oversight may have been a contributing cause; however, it can be done if enough evidence is available.”
With regard to the safety of the bridges in question, some say changes are needed to accommodate the differences in the way the way today’s vehicles are made from decades before. William Williams, an associate research engineer at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, said of the issue in the report “Our current vehicles today are taller. They're heavier. Our barriers are covering a greater spectrum of vehicles on the roadway.”
The report also notes that according to TTI, rail tests have never been conducted with school buses on the bridge.
Eberstein Witherite LLP
Url: 1-800 Car Wreck Houston