Last week, a number of family members rented a private bus so that they could spend a night out together in Chicago to celebrate the birthday of a late relative. But this act of familial unity will be remembered as more than just a memorial to a deceased person. Many aboard the bus may now be unable to disassociate the purpose of that night with the harm that befell many of them as the bus was traveling along the Eisenhower Expressway.
At approximately 2:30 in the morning, a drunk driver slammed into the side of the bus. Occupants reported that the impact caused them to collide with and topple over other passengers. The bus accident caused a slew of injuries. Fifty people reported being hurt, and a few riders required transportation to local hospitals for examination and treatment.
While it appears from initial reports that there was little that the driver of the bus could have done to avoid the crash, police cited him for three violations of the law. Officers have charged him with driving with a suspended vehicle registration, operating without valid insurance and exceeding his vehicle’s passenger capacity.
Commercial transportation agencies are known as common carriers and under the law they bear a high duty to ensure the safety of the passengers who use their services. That duty extends not only to keeping their vehicles in good working order but also to hiring competent drivers. When a common carrier breaches its duty, resulting in harm to passengers, the injured may be able to recover compensation.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Driver charged with DUI after SUV sideswipes ‘party bus’ on Eisenhower,” June 19, 2012.