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Chicago Bus Accident Sends Thirteen to Hospitals

Casey Woodruff

After a bus accident hurt fifteen passengers, many are wondering if the driver of the vehicle who plowed into the rear of the bus was following the Chicago bus too closely. The bus accident happened in Chicago’s South Side Chatham neighborhood on a recent Monday evening.

The bus was stopped and waiting to turn right onto Cottage Grove Avenue from 83rd Street when the collision occurred. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s publication on rules of the road, tailgating, or following too closely, is the leading cause of rear-end collisions. It can take some time for drivers to react to brake lights going on ahead of them. To allow enough space to stop, drivers traveling at 25 miles an hour – a typical speed on city streets – should stay back at least 111 feet from the vehicle in front of them. At 35 miles an hour, a driver should allow at least a 156-foot interval for greatest safety.

Illinois state law does not specify exact safe following distances, but requires a driver not to follow more closely than is reasonable and prudent. The driver must take into account the speed of the vehicles, road conditions and traffic.

In the March 19 accident, fifteen passengers on the bus were hurt, and thirteen were taken to hospitals with a variety of injuries. At least five ambulances were called. Remarkably, the incident did not cause a traffic backup.

The people injured in this accident may be able to file a claim to recover the costs of hospitalization, further medical treatment, lost wages and other damages. While it may be that the driver of the vehicle that hit the bus did not exercise proper caution by not keeping an adequate following distance, a thorough investigation will be needed to determine legal liability.

Every motor vehicle accident has its own unique set of circumstances. In this case, the bus company may bear some liability if, for example, it did not properly maintain the bus’s brake lights, so that a following driver was not promptly alerted. The driver of the bus or the motorist that rear-ended the vehicle could each be separately liable dependent upon the circumstances.

Source: NBC Chicago, “More Than a Dozen Injured in CTA bus Crash,” Mar. 19, 2012

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