Elliott & Smith Law Firm

Investigators Blame Speed for December 2018 Bus Crash

According to a recently-released report, a bus was going too fast in the moments before a horrific crash which killed one person and injured forty-five others.


Fayetteville, AR -- (ReleaseWire) -- 02/14/2019 --Arkansas State Police investigators say that the bus was going too fast on an Interstate 30 exit near Benton. The vehicle was unable to negotiate the curve, tumbled off the ramp, and overturned after it struck a ditch. That bus was carrying elementary school students from a football tournament back home to Tennessee. According to Arkansas Police Report #621218427 the crash killed one person and seriously injured forty-five other people.

"In car crash claims, the law and science often collide," explained Arkansas personal injury attorney J. Timothy Smith. "Speed increases the risk of a collision and the force in a collision. That's why speed is a factor in about a third of the fatal vehicle collisions in Arkansas." Velocity multiplies stopping distance.

At 30mph, stopping distance is about six car lengths. But at 60mph, stopping distance triples to eighteen car lengths. Some factors, such as vehicle weight, affect stopping distance even more. Since large buses weigh eight or ten times what most passenger cars weight, stopping distance may be eight or ten times greater. Speed and stopping distance are especially a factor when the driver negotiates a curve. Speed leads to oversteering, because a slight tilt of the wheel is enough to radically change direction. At that point, most vehicles overcorrect, causing them to lose control. Furthermore, speed multiples the force in a collision. There's an old story about a penny dropped from the top of a tall building being fatal to a pedestrian on the street. That's not true, but that penny will give the pedestrian a serious headache.

Most speed-related claims rely on both direct and circumstantial evidence of velocity. Direct evidence usually comes from the vehicle's Event Data Recorder. Nearly all vehicles have EDRs. These gadgets capture and record things like:
Vehicle speed,
Steering angle, and
Brake application.