Skip to Main Content

A History of Greyhound Bus Accidents   

A Greyhound bus on the road.

Undefeated Greyhound Bus Accident Lawyers

Since 1914, Greyhound Lines has transported hundreds of millions of Americans to thousands of destinations across the U.S., offering affordable bus travel that the company touts as both convenient and safe.   

But with 16 million Americans boarding a Greyhound charter each year and these massive motorcoaches weighing over 50,000 pounds when fully loaded, the safety risks cannot be underestimated — especially when your life is in someone else’s hands.  

The sad reality is that there are more than 10,000 bus crashes that result in injury or fatalities every year, and many of these accidents share the same common — and entirely preventable — causes.  

Here’s what you need to know about the alarming pattern of Greyhound bus wrecks and why these accidents are still more dangerous than almost any other traffic collision today.  

If you or a loved one were injured in a Greyhound bus accident, contact our undefeated Greyhound bus accident attorneys for a free consult at 1-888-603-3636 or by clicking here.  

854 Fatal Bus Accidents in Four Years Time 

Statistically, intercity buses, like those operated by Greyhound, are considered among the safest modes of transportation. But given their sheer size and weight, when a bus accident occurs, the likelihood of catastrophic injuries or fatalities becomes far more certain. 

There are more commercial buses on the road today than ever before — over one million were registered in the U.S. in 2020, according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) data

With so many buses on the road, it’s not surprising that between 2017 and 2020, there were 854 fatal bus accidents and 50,000 injuries caused by buses. In 2020 alone, there were 30,000 bus crashes — 155 of them fatal.  

When we zoom out and look at Greyhound bus accidents that occurred around these same years, a disturbing theme emerges. 

Greyhound Bus Accidents Were Preventable 

Looking at the data, the same trends resurface among Greyhound bus accidents. For decades, safety advocates have called for more stringent action to be taken regarding driver fatigue, speeding, distracted driving, faulty equipment and more common causes of bus accidents. 

But a recent history of Greyhound bus accidents reveals these factors are not improving. They’re not even coming close. 

2015:  Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea Causes Dangerous Accident in Ohio

Our Greyhound Bus Accident Attorneys Win Record-Settlement and Historic Court-Ordered Sleep Study 

On a trip from Michigan to Louisiana, Ruthie Allen was severely injured along with many other passengers when a Greyhound driver fell asleep and caused the bus to flip. Greyhound offered Ms. Allen a paltry settlement that did not take into account the gravity of her injuries. We recovered the largest settlement to date for Ms. Allen, our firm’s second record-setting recovery against Greyhound. 

During the case, our Bus Accident Lawyers obtained the first court-ordered sleep study of a Greyhound driver in US history.  The study disproved Greyhound’s claim that the driver suffered a “sudden medical episode” and confirmed, as suspected, that the driver had moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition that research indicates increases the risk of a driver crashing by 123%! 

The settlement prompted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reevaluate the criteria for screening commercial drivers for dangerous medical conditions, like Obstructive Sleep Apnea — a win for bus safety, but merely a blip in the timeline of the company’s dangerous track record. 

2016: Fatigue Causes Fatal Greyhound Bus Accident That Kills Two  

Not even a year later, a bus driver admitted to being fatigued when his Greyhound bus ran into a safety barrier in San Jose, California, killing two and injuring 18. Passengers reported seeing him dozing off moments before the bus drifted into the wrong lane. 

2018: Truck Tire Blowout Causes Fatal Collision With a Greyhound Bus in New Mexico 

Two years later, a semi-tractor-trailer blew a tire on I-40, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle and cross the median, colliding head-on with a Greyhound bus en route to Los Angeles with 49 people aboard.  Eight people aboard the motorcoach, including the driver and an infant, tragically lost their lives.   

Although Greyhound was not at fault for this accident, it serves as a grave reminder of just how deadly our nation’s highways have become, even more so as large trucks and buses are not held to as stringent safety standards as they should be. In fact, the trucking company involved had already been in three crashes in two years at the time of this deadly incident. 

2019:  Distracted and Intoxicated Greyhound Bus Driver Injures Dozens in Mississippi  

The next year proved especially dangerous for Greyhound passengers traveling in the southern states when Greyhound bus driver consciously chose to put her passengers lives at risk by driving the bus drunk (over 3 times the legal BAC limit).

  • In Jackson, Mississippi, two dozen people were hospitalized when the intoxicated bus driver flipped the Greyhound bus at least three times while attempting to merge onto an interstate. The driver failed a breathalyzer test at the crash scene with a 0.15 BAC, resulting in her arrest (in Mississippi, a commercial driver is legally intoxicated at .04 BAC). 
  • In Kentucky, a distracted Greyhound bus driver was texting when his bus caused a catastrophic collision on I-75, striking a semi-truck and causing it to flip onto its side.   
  • And in the Woodlands, Texas, six were injured when a semi-truck smashed into the back of a Greyhound that was stopped on the outside shoulder of I-45 due to mechanical problems.

2020: Speeding in Texas and Maintenance Problems in Illinois Leave Dozens Hospitalized 

On a remote stretch near Wichita Falls, Texas, a Greyhound bus collided with a pickup truck. The bus slid off the roadway and overturned into a ditch, injuring dozens and tragically killing two passengers. Speed and distractions are the leading causes of commercial motor vehicle accidents in Texas, especially in remote areas.  

In Effingham, Illinois, a Greyhound driver attempted to open a window because the bus’s AC went out. While reaching for the window, the bus veered off the interstate and rolled into a ditch, injuring three and sparking a fire in the grass.

The Effingham crash is not only another example of the dangers of distracted driving, but a reminder that distracted driving includes anything that takes the drivers eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel. 

2021: Dangerous Lane Change Send Dozens to Hospital in Greyhound Bus Accidents in Virginia and Alabama 

Near Fredericksburg, Virginia, a Greyhound bus drifted off the road on I-95 and came to rest in an embankment, sending 15 passengers to the hospital. When large vehicles drift from their lanes, it is almost always due to fatigue or distracted driving. These types of accidents are entirely preventable.  

In Birmingham, Alabama, two people were hospitalized when a FedEx truck hydroplaned on the interstate and collided with a Greyhound bus, injuring 2 of the bus’s passengers. Hydroplaning is often triggered by speeding and improperly inflated tires, suggesting the accident could likely have been prevented.  

2022: A Tire Blowout & Fatigue Contribute to Three Major California Greyhound Bus Accidents in One Year 

In June 2022, 13 people were hurt after a Greyhound bus blew a tire and veered into a car, then the concrete dividing barrier, on a California desert highway near Banning. 

‘Old Highway 99’ (CA-99) was especially dangerous for Greyhound buses in 2022:

Two Greyhound bus accidents occurred on Old Highway 99 and both had the tell-tale signs of a fatigued bus driver:

  • More than 20 people – including many children — were hospitalized after a Greyhound bus headed north on Highway 99 veered off the road and flipped over near Avenue 260 in Tulare. The driver exhibited all the signs of fatigue, including an inverted sleep schedule and extended hours of driving time.
  • Multiple people were injured, including several who were hospitalized, after a Greyhound bus rear-ended a Freightliner truck near the town of Tulare around 3:30 a.m. The bus then veered into the median, and crashed into a guardrail. 

2023: Fatigued Greyhound Driver Causes Mass Fatality in Southern Illinois 

July 2023: three people were tragically killed and twenty injured when a Greyhound struck three 18-wheelers parked along Interstate 70 West in southern Illinois in the early morning hours. The bus was just 30 miles from its last stop in St. Louis when the horrific crash occurred. 

The force of the collision caused the bus roof to crumble and ripped off its right-side panel, leaving eight rows of seats exposed.  Based on accounts of the crash and the fact that it happened in the early hours of the morning, fatigue was very likely the culprit.  

The media turned to our Undefeated Greyhound Bus Accident Lawyers to discuss the deadly collision.  

Why Do Greyhound Buses Continue to Crash?

We have witnessed Greyhound put profits over passenger safety time and time again, despite the company marketing itself as having an “outstanding safety record.”

Safety is (and always should be) the top priority. It’s never acceptable to allow inexperienced, fatigued, and medically unqualified drivers on the road.

Greyhound knows this. But it keeps happening. 

The Most Common Causes of Greyhound Bus Accidents

1. Fatigued Driving

An overwhelming majority of Greyhound bus crashes involve fatigue, an entirely preventable cause of accidents. Buses collectively traveled 15.1 billion miles in 2022 with just over 27,000 bus drivers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With low pay and no right to earn overtime, Greyhound drivers are forced to work long hours with little to no training and few opportunities for well needed sleep.

There are over 100,000 fatigue-related crashes reported in the US each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — and many involve professional bus drivers.

Because commercial drivers have a high incidence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and are required to drive long distances for long periods of time, often at night, they are up to 155% more likely to be involved in a fatigue-related crash.

Greyhound knows full well that drivers operating between midnight and 6 a.m. are substantially more likely to cause a fatigue-related crash. They also know that untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea increases the risk of a crash by over 10 times.

The company even retained an outside fatigue consultant back in 2010 to study the effect of inverted (constantly changing) sleep schedules on its drivers. But despite learning that night drivers were substantially more likely to cause a fatigued-related crash, nothing has changed.

Many Greyhound drivers still work longer hours than they’re supposed to, jeopardizing the lives of not only their passengers, but everyone they share the road with.  

2. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving claimed 3,522 lives in 2022, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and it may contribute to as many as 70% of commercial bus and truck accidents reported in the United States each year. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation says that commercial motor vehicle drivers are 23 times more likely to cause an accident when texting and seven times more likely when reaching for their device.

Despite the FMCSA’s stringent mobile phone restrictions, drivers can’t seem to resist this risky behavior.  And states are not doing enough to prevent it either — while 49 have bans on texting while driving, only 24 states have banned handheld cell phone use while driving as of 2023, per Forbes

Greyhound says they have zero-tolerance for drivers who use or talk on a mobile phone while operating a motorcoach. They know it’s dangerous for a driver to do so, but even though technology exists that can prevent drivers from being able to access their devices while driving, Greyhound refuses to pay for it. 

Leaving it up to an underpaid driver who’s rushing to their next destination has proven to be an ineffective strategy for preventing distracted driving accidents.

There are also distractions beyond cell phones, like eating or drinking, talking on a cellphone, and even malfunctioning equipment, like the broken air conditioner that caused a driver to flip a Greyhound bus in Illinois in 2020, injuring three passengers.  

3. Poorly Trained and Inexperienced Bus Drivers

Greyhound must log 82-hours of driving time to “graduate” driving school, but many get behind the wheel without a full understanding of what they were taught, particularly the drivers those who fail multiple times before finally passing their drivers test.

Training isn’t the only problem: a Greyhound bus driver shortage has been ongoing since 2018 and was exacerbated by the pandemic. 

According to the Chaddick Institute’s 2023 outlook on the intercity bus industry, a chronic driver and mechanic shortage are the most persistent problems plaguing companies like Greyhound. In fact, bus companies estimate they are short 7,300 drivers, with more than 20% of driver jobs unfilled. Wage rates, licensing delays, and a lack of interest in driving are the major reasons for the shortages.

Not only does this shortage create a dangerous situation for bus passengers, but it also means Greyhound and other bus companies are going to hire more unqualified drivers to fill the void.

4. Maintenance Problems and Safety Violations

Greyhound says that its drivers must check tires and perform a thorough walk-around and engine inspection every 150 miles, but a CNN investigation found that these “maintenance stops” rarely occur.

Greyhound is also using old buses while facing a shortage of mechanics to work on them, meaning tire blow outs and more serious mechanical problems are likely to be encountered with a bus full of passengers.

Greyhound Continues to Prioritize Profit Over Passenger Safety

Greyhound continues to fall abysmally short when it comes to taking action to prevent serious and fatal bus crashes.

Having successfully represented more injured Greyhound passengers than any other law firm in the United States, our bus accident attorneys have learned that as Greyhound claims to be working to prevent similar crashes from occurring in the future, they’re working even harder to avoid responsibility in lawsuits for seriously injuring or killing their passengers.

What Can Be Done to Make Greyhound Buses Safer? 

Though interstate motorcoaches must follow strict federal and state safety laws, safety advocates have pushed for more oversight in an effort to curb the death toll of our nation’s increasingly dangerous highways.  

The National Transporation Safety Board has long called for improvements to address the major causes of deadly crashes involving 18-wheelers and commercial buses for years as well.

Some of the recommendations it’s made include:

Speed-related crashes resulted in nearly 100,000 fatalities between 2009 and 2018, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic deaths that occurred in the United States during that period. The NTSB recommends critical tools including speed-limiters, automated enforcement, expert speed analysis tools, and educational campaigns in our communities to address this safety problem. 

2. Combating impaired driving and requiring collision avoidance systems

The NTSB recommends states lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) from the current .08%  implement laws requiring all drivers convicted of alcohol-impaired driving to use an interlock devices and has called for the development of better drug-testing procedures. 

3. Eliminating distracted driving

NTSB has called for a ban on the use of all personal electronic devices while driving. Forty-eight states and Washington, D.C., already prohibit drivers from texting behind the wheel and nearly half have hands-free device laws.  But no state completely bans the use of personal electronic devices while driving. 

Thankfully, it does appear that new regulations are on the way that would reign in the trucking and bus companies that continue to put profits over safety.  

In June 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that both National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FCSMA will require all new large trucks and buses over 10,000 pounds to include automatic emergency braking equipment within five years, estimating it will prevent nearly 20,000 crashes and save at least 155 lives a year.  Both agencies may soon require speed-limiting devices in all new large trucks and commercial buses as well.  

At Zehl & Associates, our record-setting victories have also prompted a number of important safety changes at Greyhound—and the bus industry as a whole—that have substantially reduced the number of fatigue-related crashes and made the roads safer for both bus passengers and other drivers who share the road with them. 

Injured in a Greyhound Bus Accident?

Contact Our Undefeated Greyhound Bus Accident Attorneys at 1-888-603-3636 for a Free Consultation.  

If you or a loved one were injured in a Greyhound bus crash, the lawyer you hire can make the difference between a $5,000 recovery and a $5,000,000 recovery.

You need a lawyer who’s consistently handled cases against Greyhound, who knows their rules and policies, and who has taken them to court and not only won, but recovered the largest verdicts and settlements in the company’s history. 

Our undefeated bus accident lawyers have not only represented more injured bus passengers against Greyhound than any other law firm in the United States. We’ve also won larger verdicts and settlements for injured bus passengers than any other law firm in the United States.

Let us secure your future.

Call 1-888-603-3636 or click here to send us a confidential email through our Contact form.  

All consultations are free, and you don’t pay us unless we win your case.