Bus drivers, like other motorists, have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. However, unlike drivers of personal vehicles, most bus drivers are commercially licensed and are operating as “common carriers.” Simply put, a common carrier is a person or company that transports passengers for a fee. Examples of common carriers include buses, taxi-cabs, and semi-trucks.
Drivers always have a duty of care to ensure that they are safely operating their vehicles. This includes a duty to all other motorists on the road, as well as to the passengers inside the driver’s vehicle. However, the duty that a common carrier owes to its passengers is greater than the duty a member of the general public owes to a passenger.
Lawsuits brought against common carriers in the wake of a serious or fatal accident must meet several criteria before the injured party is entitled to compensation. Primarily, the injured party must show that the common carrier was somehow negligent. This most often is proven through evidence showing that the carrier was somehow careless or reckless in the operation or maintenance of the vehicle.