When behind the wheel of a large commercial vehicle like a double-decker charter bus, it only takes a moment of poor judgment for a minor mistake to turn into a catastrophe. Over the weekend, this is exactly what happened when a driver missed two warning signs and crashed into an overpass, killing two passengers and injuring 30 more.
Although an investigation will reveal more facts, this fatal accident apparently involved clear mistakes on the part of the driver. The bus company could also find itself liable in a wrongful death suit.
According to officials, the bus was moving around 20 mph when it crashed into an overpass at the Miami International Airport. Thirty-two passengers were onboard at the time and two died. Three suffered severe injuries and the other 27 required treatment for minor wounds.
Two signs warn drivers that tall vehicles cannot proceed under the overpass - both signs direct them to take an alternate route. Since the overpass was limited to vehicles no taller than 8 feet and 6 inches, the double-decker bus was clearly too tall to navigate it.
Police said that the driver missed the two signs because he was "unfamiliar" with the area. This might point to a fatal error of judgment on his part or a deeper mistake with the bus company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration cited the same company several times in recent years for driver fatigue-related violations. If that was still a chronic issue at the company, overwork could have played a role in this crash as well.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "2 dead in bus crash into overpass at Miami airport," Suzette Laboy, Dec. 1, 2012