Public transportation is a crucial part of the daily lives of millions of Texans. With the increasing number of people using public transit, it is essential to be aware of the safety measures that can help protect you, your family, and other passengers.
In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss various safety tips and precautions that can help you stay safe on city buses, with a special focus on the Houston Metro system.
Understanding the Risks
While public transit is generally considered a safe mode of transportation, accidents can and do happen. According to the Federal Transit Administration, there were 1,779 reported bus accidents in Texas in 2020, resulting in 1,112 injuries and 12 fatalities. Houston Metro, in particular, has seen a number of high-profile crashes in recent years, leading to increased scrutiny and calls for improved safety measures.
As a passenger, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with public transit and take appropriate steps to protect yourself and those around you.
General Safety Tips for Riding City Buses
- Plan your trip in advance: Familiarize yourself with the bus route, schedule, and stops before boarding the bus. This will help you avoid confusion and ensure that you are prepared for any unexpected changes in the route or schedule.
- Arrive at the bus stop early: Give yourself plenty of time to get to the bus stop before the scheduled arrival time. This will help you avoid rushing and potentially putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Wait for the bus in a safe location: Stand at least five feet away from the curb while waiting for the bus. Avoid standing in the street or in other potentially dangerous areas.
- Be cautious when boarding and exiting the bus: Use handrails when boarding and exiting the bus, and watch your step to avoid tripping or slipping. Allow other passengers to exit the bus before attempting to board.
- Choose a seat near the front of the bus: Sitting near the front of the bus allows you to keep an eye on the driver and the road ahead. This can help you anticipate any sudden stops or changes in direction that could cause injury.
- Keep your belongings secure: Hold onto your personal items, such as bags and purses, to prevent them from falling or causing a tripping hazard for other passengers.
- Remain seated while the bus is in motion: Standing or walking around while the bus is moving can increase your risk of injury in the event of a sudden stop or accident. If you must stand, hold onto the handrails or seatbacks for support.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to the actions of the driver and other passengers, and report any suspicious or dangerous behavior to the driver or authorities.
- Follow the driver’s instructions: In the event of an emergency, listen carefully to the driver’s instructions and follow them promptly.
- Know the emergency exits: Familiarize yourself with the location of emergency exits and windows on the bus, and know how to operate them in case of an emergency.
Houston Metro-Specific Safety Tips
In addition to the general safety tips listed above, there are several Houston Metro-specific precautions that you should be aware of:
- Use the METRO Trip App: This app provides real-time information about bus schedules, routes, and delays, helping you plan your trip more effectively.
- Take advantage of the METRO Q® Fare Card: This reloadable card allows you to pay your fare quickly and easily, reducing the likelihood of accidents or delays caused by fumbling for change.
- Be aware of the METRO Police Department: This dedicated police force is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of Houston Metro passengers. If you witness any suspicious or dangerous behavior, do not hesitate to contact them at 713-224-COPS (2677).
What to Do in the Event of a Bus Accident
In the event that you find yourself in such a situation, it is crucial to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your legal rights.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you do not believe that you have been seriously injured, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and could worsen over time if left untreated. Timely medical care can not only aid in your recovery, but also support your claim should you decide to pursue legal action.
Report the Accident
Notify the bus driver and the appropriate authorities, such as the police and the local transit agency (e.g., Houston Metro), of the accident. This will ensure professional assistance arrives on the scene and an official record of the incident is created.
Taking the time to gather evidence is important for both your personal records and potential legal proceedings. Be sure to:
- Take photos of the accident scene, capturing the positioning of the vehicles, visible injuries, and any damaged property.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses, as their accounts may be valuable in building your case.
- Obtain a copy of the police report, which will provide an impartial account of the incident and help establish responsibility.
Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a bus accident, it is essential to seek the advice of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. They can help protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. An attorney will:
- Assess your case and inform you of your legal options.
- Advocate on your behalf through negotiations with insurance companies and in court if necessary.
- Handle the complex legal process and paperwork, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
In conclusion, being involved in a bus accident can be overwhelming, but taking the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your legal rights is essential. Seeking medical attention, reporting the accident, gathering evidence, and consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney will put you in the best position to receive the compensation and support you need after such an event.
At Joe I. Zaid & Associates, our Houston personal injury attorneys are committed to helping you navigate the complex legal process following a bus accident. With years of experience representing clients in a wide range of personal injury cases, we are well-equipped to handle even the most challenging cases. Contact us today at 281-990-5200 or visit our office at 4710 Vista Rd. Suite E Pasadena, TX 77505 to schedule a free consultation.