UK Coach Safety Review Called For

Fatal Crash And Emergency Exit Falls Demonstrate Urgent Need For Review

21.05.2014

Lawyers representing injured victims and the families of those killed in coach crashes in the UK and abroad have called for a review of coach safety in the UK after several incidents have raised significant concerns regarding standards.

Irwin Mitchell’s legal experts have made the call following several high-profile incidents involving coaches which have put safety concerns in the spotlight, including:

  • April 13th: A nine-year-old boy suffered life-threatening injuries after he fell from an exit door near the toilet of a double-decker coach operated by Hamiltons while it was travelling along the A47 in Norfolk. He remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.
  • May 13th: Two women died and several others injured when a coach operated by Carmel Coaches of Exmouth crashed on a hill in Cornwall. The driver was arrested and subsequently bailed.
  • May 16th: A 13-year-old boy suffered a broken wrist, cuts and bruises after falling from the rear emergency door of the Keith Jones Coaches vehicle on the M49-M4.

Irwin Mitchell’s serious injury lawyers have acted for victims of more than 20 serious bus and coach crashes across the world. The team also currently represent 25 injured children and adults from Alvechurch Middle School who were injured in a fatal coach crash in France in February 2012, as well as 14 passengers injured in a crash in the French Alps in April 2013.

Expert Opinion
The series of coach-related incidents in the past month has brought the issue of domestic coach safety into the spotlight like never before. While investigations into each of the incidents above are ongoing, it is clear that there are significant questions that must be answered.

"Through our work both on behalf of hundreds of victims of coach crashes in the UK and abroad, we have identified the need for several core issues to be carefully and thoroughly assessed to ensure the necessary safety standards are met.

"Core issues that need to be examined include driver selection, training, supervision and monitoring. The adequacy of rest breaks for coach drivers and the provision of reasonable facilities for rest also needs consideration as both driver error and driver fatigue are common factors in causing coach accidents. At the same time, consideration needs to be given to ensuring that the standards of coach maintenance and repair are as high as they reasonably can be across the whole industry.

"All of these issues should be considered with one fundamental goal in mind – the improvement of passenger safety."
Clive Garner, Partner

If you’ve experienced physical or psychological injury due to a road traffic accident involving a bus or coach, you may be able to claim compensation. See our Bus & Coach Accident Claims page for more information.