On The Buses - Accidents involving buses

The Area Coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has published a report on the availability of seatbelts on buses, highlighting some differences between urban travel and longer distance travel.

John Bennett
John Bennett

Published: May 7th, 2024

4 mins read

Buses often lack seatbelts as a result of something called "compartmentalization". The seat spacing is designed to create small compartments that segregate passengers. In the event of a collision, passengers are protected by the padded seats and the space around them. The idea is that this design minimizes the risk of injury without the need for individual seat belts. There seems to be a view that buses are often used for short urban journeys where speeds are low. High speed collisions are therefore rare. Passengers often stand on urban buses, especially at busy times. As the coroner pointed out in his report:

" that since 01.10.01 seatbelts are required to be fitted in all new buses, but there is an exemption where such vehicles are designed for urban use with standing passengers. Whilst this particular route required the bus to travel from/to and stop off in 5-6 urban centres the majority of the journey took place on a major A route through rural areas. The speed of the bus at the point of collision was approximately 53mph. Both the bus driver and an upper deck passenger were killed in the collision. Whilst there was no evidence that either death would have been prevented by the wearing of seatbelts a number of other passengers were injured in the collision."

It does beg the question on whether they should be fitted. If you are unlucky enough to be involved in an accident involving a bus, as a passenger you would be able to recover damages for injuries caused in the accident, against the at fault driver, whether that be the bus driver or another driver.

If seatbelts are available, they ought to be worn. Not wearing one risks a reduction in damages of up to 25% if the at fault driver can prove that wearing a seatbelt would have prevented or reduced that injury. If no seatbelts are available that would not apply.

Here at Fobes Solicitors we have an experienced team dealing with personal injury claims. If you, a friend or relative have been injured on a bus you may have a claim.

Please however, bear in mind that in May 2021 the Government introduced a Whiplash Tariff, fixing damages for whiplash injuries.
The Tariffs are as follows:

Whiplash only

Whiplash & PTSD

Not more than 3 months



More than 3 months, but not more than 6 months



More than 6 months, but not more than 9 months



More than 9 months, but not more than 12 months



More than 12 months, but not more than 15 months



More than 15 months, but not more than 18 months



More than 18 months, but not more than 24 months.



Other injuries, wrist or hand sprains, jaw pain, tinnitus (ring in the ears), leg, foot and ankle sprains are assessed in the usual way and are not subject to the Tariff.

We accept cases on a no win no fee basis. If we win your case we can recover most of our costs from your opponent. Providing you follow our advice, we guarantee you will keep at least 70% of your damages.

If you are a child or person lacking capacity, we will not make any deductions from your damages, they will receive 100% of their damages, providing we can recover our costs from your opponent.

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