In the last month, more than one child has died in an accident while traveling on a so-called “party bus”, a specially designed bus that people can use for recreation.
These recent cases of fatal child injury both involved emergency exits. Recently, a teen traveling from New York to a party in New Jersey opened an emergency hatch on the ceiling of a bus and stuck his head out of it. He died when the bus passed under an overpass while his head was still hanging outside the bus.
About a month later, a girl in another part of the country died when she leaned against an emergency window exit. The child fell out of the bus and onto the concrete street below.
One must wonder whether the large and probably rambunctious crowds on these party buses contributed to these tragedies. After all, even when working properly, an emergency exit should be able to open, and an excited group of children may choose carelessly to use the emergency exits for sport.
Particularly in the case of children and teens, it may be difficult to supervise a crowd of 30 or 65 people to make sure that no one gets injured. Unlike a school bus, a party bus may be dark or have unusual lighting, and may or may not have a driver specially trained to transport children and teens. Underage drinking may also play a factor in party bus accidents.
Party bus operators and those who rent their services have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their passengers and to supervise them adequately. If they fail in this obligation, the parents of those children may be able to recover compensation for their children’s injuries.
Source: ABC News, “Girl, 11, killed after falling out of party bus”, Alyssa Newcomb, Sept. 30, 2012