Truck and bus designs that are unsafe put pedestrians and cyclists at tremendous risk, and a recent verdict of nearly $19 million highlights just how high this risk is. In a recent wrongful death and product liability lawsuit, the family of a deceased cyclist who was killed due to the poor design of a bus was awarded $18.7 million in damages, charging the bus company with failure to make the bus safe for cyclists who share the road.
First Trial to Cite Faulty Aerodynamic Design
Safe design is critical when manufacturers design large vehicles, including tour buses like the one in the case. What made this trial unique other than its large verdict was the fact that it was the first trial to cite a faulty aerodynamic design as a cause for a fatal accident. The jury determined that the defendant, Motor Coach Industries, did not properly design the bus, creating a sucking force that pulled the cyclist, Dr. Kayvan Khiabani, under the bus leading to his death. The manufacturer was also faulted for a lack of proximity sensors and lack of adequate warnings about the dangers of riding a bike near the bus. All three of these problems were listed as the causes of the accident.
While the proximity sensors and warning signs are fairly easy to fix, the biggest problem in the case was the overall design of the bus. Described as a “brick breadbox,” the bus’s square design had sharp edges that created a negative pressure zone. This caused airflow to pull the bike under the coach. Witnesses of the accident said that it appeared the bike suddenly veered left toward the bus, which was likely due to this negative air pressure zone.
Bus and Truck Manufacturers Need to Take Notice
Personal injury and truck accident lawyers in Las Vegas are hoping this case will cause manufacturers of large vehicles, including trucks and buses, to take notice. An improved design is required to protect pedestrians, cyclists and smaller vehicles that share the road with these larger vehicles. The sheer size of buses and trucks means that these accidents are much more likely to cause serious, life-changing injuries or fatalities. Proper design is essential to keeping the roads safe.