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A Philadelphia jury recently awarded a $5 million verdict to four passengers injured in a Greyhound bus crash with a tractor-trailer.

At approximately 1:30 a.m. on October 9, 2013, the bus driver was on an overnight trip from New York to Cleveland when she slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer on I-80 in Pennsylvania. The force of impact threw one passenger from the bus. The woman died and dozens more were injured. Some passengers said that the bus had been fishtailing for miles. Others said the bus driver had red eyes when she was taking tickets in New York. A motorist on the road at the time said he saw the bus swerving and remembered thinking, “They are going to kill somebody.”

An investigation determined that the cause of the accident was due to the bus driver falling asleep behind the wheel. To add insult to injury, on the day of the crash Greyhound representatives tried to make settlement offers with victims by approaching them at the crash site and while they were in the hospital. In one situation, an adjuster acting on behalf of Greyhound was aware that a woman was admitted with a concussion and was “groggy”, yet still attempted to end her injury claim by offering her $1,000 to settle. Then, a Greyhound Terminal Manager entered her room offering $45,000. Such tactics are used by corporations and their insurance companies in an attempt to reduce the amount that they need to pay for medical bills and expenses. The insurance company also requires a full release of liability. That means if damages turn out to be more serious or the medical bills were excessive, this innocent victim would be left holding the bag with no real recourse.

The victims did not fall for these low-ball attempts to settle and instead chose to seek expert legal advice. So, Greyhound tried to discount the claims saying that the crash was not due to driver fatigue, but rather because the bus driver had a stroke. The company even went so far as to withhold information from the plaintiffs’ attorneys in which expert testimony refuted that claim. Why would Greyhound employ all these tactics? You guessed it – profits over the safety of its passengers!

After a six-week trial, the jury awarded separate verdicts, totaling $3.05 million in compensatory money damages and an additional $2 million in punitive damages. The bus driver was found 55 percent negligent and Greyhound 45 percent negligent. The case hinged on Greyhound’s G-40 rule stating that drivers are supposed to stop approximately every 150 miles to walk around the bus and check the tires, and to refresh and stretch to mitigate fatigue. The investigation revealed that the rule was only treated as a guideline, and that management does not enforce the safety rule; the onus is on the driver.

The individual verdict amounts were allocated as follows:

  • $3 million for a 21-year-old woman who sustained cervical spine injuries, non- displaced broken bones in her foot, displaced tibia fibula fracture requiring surgery, skull and facial fractures and a traumatic brain injury.
  • $850,000 for a man who suffered from jaw and dental injuries, a broken wrist, and knee and ankle injuries.
  • $625,000 for a female passenger who sustained a concussion and underwent six months of chiropractic visits for a back sprain and strain.
  • $575,000 for a passenger who suffered from spinal sprain and strain and received approximately six medical treatments.

This trial was the first of four scheduled trials, each one on behalf of four clients – including the estate of the woman who was ejected and killed in this crash.

Greyhound may soon be facing lawsuits from a January 2016 bus crash near San Jose, California, as well. In this incident, the bus careened into safety barrels, flipped over and came to rest on the center divider. Two passengers ejected from the bus were killed; nearly two dozen others were injured. The investigation is ongoing, but the driver told a California Highway Patrol officer that he felt tired and had stopped for a caffeine jolt shortly before the crash.

How many more serious injuries and fatalities must happened before Greyhound puts safety over profits? “Until Greyhound is restructured and safety is given adequate priority and oversight, particularly with respect to fatigue management of its drivers and enforcement of its safety rules, these fatigue-related highway crashes will likely continue,” said Lead Counsel Jon Ostroff. “It’s time for the government to intervene and create regulations intended to prevent these fatigue-related crashes from continuing. Appropriate regulations must be implemented, especially with inherently dangerous long routes like the one in our case, which was an overnight, 463-mile route with only one scheduled rest stop for the driver,” he said.

We continue to be a nation on the move; buses and motor coaches remain a popular and cost-effective way for millions of Americans to travel. Before Greyhound packs another one of its buses with passengers, it needs to review and enforce its policies. The traveling public deserves safer service; Greyhound owes its passengers a commitment to safety. It is time to put the brakes on fatigue related crashes.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.


  1. Gravatar for gilbert Beanes
    gilbert Beanes

    I'm a retired greyhound driver and my comment on this issue is that Greyhound has neglected its drivers and passengers. I had runs that were tight on schedule connections. there was a lot of safety problems regarding driver safety. a lot of the runs nationwide had tight runs and long hours. one run I had in 2001 was a one stop run from Denver,Colorado to Council Bluff, Iowa.It was night run with no rest stops in between. It was well over 500mi. One of the main safety problems was long miles and tight times. I hope this investigation will reveal the tight schedules that the drivers had to endure. I have more info to reveal to you. contact me if interested.

  2. Gravatar for gilbert Beanes
    gilbert Beanes

    another problems involving safety is that there very few breaks for the driver and their passenger. a lot of long hrs and no breaks. many of these runs were night runs. there wasn't many short runs.

  3. Gravatar for Joseph DuVall
    Joseph DuVall

    Your statement, “It’s time for the government to intervene and create regulations intended to prevent these fatigue-related crashes from continuing" only puts a band-aid on the issue.

    I'm a retired driver from Greyhound Lines, Inc. and for the last several years of my career with the Company, I was a part of the Safety Department.

    I attribute the problems addressed in this article to a lack of proper management.

    In the mid 1980's there was a shift away from the "old" established safety focus which promoted Greyhound to the top of ground travel companies.

    It began to surface under the direction of one, John Teets and with each successor to him the digression was increasingly evident., until no longer were driver instructors permitted to "wash out" an unqualified driving student, We were directed by management to "make drivers" out of everyone who enter the training program. Then once in the hire of the Company, they would find "secondary" methods of eliminating them from the employee roster. This was an effort to minimize liability in hiring practices. It was a bad policy from the onset and only exasperated by the fact that by that time, a "new breed" of managers had joined the Company and cronyism was prevalent among the ranks and many of the drivers who should have never been hired in the first place now fell through the cracks and end up in the kind of situations, of which you write.

    Now, add to that factor the management's drive for the "bottom line" of profit and you have running times reduced because the pay structure was changed from mileage to hourly, and many stops which afforded the driver the needed break from driving were eliminated as cost cutting factors and you now have a Company which has totally lost it's way in regards to safety and customer comfort!

    I'd rather see some old fashioned "military style" supervision returned to the Company than additional government regs. put in place. We all know that government involvement in anything ensured an overall failure of intent.

  4. Gravatar for Mark Bello
    Mark Bello

    Thank you for the comments. Clearly, real safety is achieved when transportation companies emphasize it and create a corporate culture of safety corporately. Based upon the three comments we've received, it is clear that Greyhound has some work to do and needs to return to its pro-safety roots. To Joseph: I am certainly not suggesting that the government can do more to create that culture than Greyhound can internally, but if Greyhound is not or will not improve on its own, the company must be "leaned on" by those in power. How any CEO can cut corners on "safety and customer comfort" and expect those changes to improve the long-term bottom line is a mystery to me. The company may see a short-term gain, but it is in for long-term pain if it doesn't correct these policies. Greyhound corporate: Listen to your drivers; they have more experience and knowledge in these areas than you do

  5. Gravatar for Chris Menon
    Chris Menon

    The technology to help prevent an accident such as this already exists. It is being installed in Dubai by an Australian company called Seeing Machines. Here's a link to their website.

    I understand that there are some trials going on in the US with bus and truck companies.

  6. Gravatar for Dave Jones
    Dave Jones

    The technology to spot fatigue in drivers has been successfully used by Caterpillar trucks and more recently has been trialed successfully by the Dubai Transport Authority:

  7. Gravatar for Mark Bello
    Mark Bello

    Dave & Chris: Thanks for posting this valuable information. This places the ball squarely in Greyhound's court.

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