Party buses and limos are promoted as a safe way to get friends together and drink into the wee hours without the risk of driving drunk. However, they’re also sometimes a party to terrible accidents.
In a somewhat bizarre incident, an Illinois man was recently killed when he went to adjust the radio at the front of the 32-seat bus he had rented with friends to celebrate a birthday. Somehow, he lost his balance, fell down the steps and against the glass door of the bus.
Experts theorize that his body weight was enough to push the door open, throwing him headlong onto the concrete road outside, straight into the path of oncoming traffic. He was subsequently hit by a sports utility vehicle and killed.
While the vehicle that hit the man fled the scene, investigators are also hoping to determine if the door to the bus was properly locked, or if there was some sort of mechanical failure with the bus equipment or another issue that led to the doors opening while the bus was in transit.
Unfortunately, deaths and injuries on party buses aren’t exactly rare events — many feel that they are often overused and poorly maintained. Taking a bus off the road to do a thorough safety check on the equipment and making follow-up repairs potentially means lost revenue. Others question how a door to such a large vehicle could so easily be opened while the vehicle is in motion and why there aren’t better safeguards in place to prevent such accidents.
In addition, the safety rules that do exist are often laxly enforced by drivers who feel that it isn’t their job to manage the revelers. Victims have even died from standing up on the tops of double-decker buses and hitting their heads on overpasses or drunkenly opening the doors of buses that are in motion on purpose to hang off the side.
If a close relative was killed in an accident involving a party bus, consider talking to an attorney about the possibility of litigation. There are possibly several different potential defendants —the bus and tour companies (if the party or tour was arranged through a service) each have a responsibility to make sure that guests are given the safe ride they’re promised.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Libertyville man struck, killed in hit-and-run after falling off party bus,” Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, June 03, 2017