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CTA Bus Accidents Too Common in Chicagoland

Casey Woodruff

CTA busHow common are Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Accidents? According to a report from ABC 7 News, deadly CTA bus crashes are much more common than most Chicago residents might expect. To be sure, the report indicates that, “for CTA buses, that crash factor is 36 hours.” In other words, every 36 hours—or, every day and a half—a CTA bus is involved in an accident. While not all city bus crashes result in serious or fatal injuries, even a seemingly minor collision can result in passenger injuries such as whiplash. As a fact sheet from WebMD explains, whiplash—also known as neck strain—is an injury that frequently results from traffic collisions.

Why do so many CTA bus accidents happen? Given the very high rate of crashes reported by ABC 7 News, it seems as though the Chicago Transit Authority should be able to take additional steps to prevent these accidents.

High Profile CTA Bus Crashes in the Chicago Area 

As the report notes, many commentators did not key into the high rate of CTA bus accidents until there was a series of high profile crashes in the Chicago area. For example, in the past year or so, several very serious accidents occurred that resulted in severe personal injuries. One CTA bus passenger sustained a broken hip in an accident that took place last summer. Around the same time, a fatal crash occurred at Michigan and Lake “when a CTA bus jumped a curb.” In 2014, records show that CTA buses caused a series of accidents, including a “chain-reaction” crash in Roscoe Village and a collision involving parked cars in Bronzeville. Also in 2014, a CTA bus crashed “into three parked vehicles, injuring 14 people.”

We know that the CTA buses involved in some of these accidents were at fault, but how did these crashes happen? Were other drivers to blame in some cases? Were there poor road conditions? In other words, were there other factors involved that we should consider when assessing the safety of city buses? According to the report, in two different incidents, bus drivers lost consciousness for different reasons. In some situations, road construction appears to have been a factor. The CTA emphasizes that “most of the crashes involving buses aren’t their fault, but instead are caused by other drivers.” For example, a spokesperson for the CTA notes that there are “a lot of incidents in which vehicles rear-end buses, turn in front of buses, [and] sideswipe them.”

Chicago Transit Authority Bus Statistics

According to the Chicago Transit Authority’s website, nearly 1,900 buses currently are in operation throughout Chicago. They operate 130 different routes, which total more than 1,300 miles. The website also cites the very high workload of CTA buses, which “make about 18,843 trips a day and serve 10,813 bus stops.” The average weekday ridership for CTA buses is 873,147. And when we look at the annual numbers, approximately 274.3 million people were served by the CTA bus system in 2015 alone. Per day in 2015, CTA buses traveled an average of 159,547 miles.

While more miles likely means a higher risk of a collision, given the sheer number of people served by CTA buses, it is important to think more carefully about public transit safety measures and to take steps to prevent bus accidents.

If you or someone you love suffered an injury on a CTA bus, an experienced Chicago public transit accident lawyer can help with your case. Contact Woodruff Johnson & Evans today.

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