For those readers who remember Jayne Mansfield, or even know who she was, this is not a story about her Hollywood exploits or bedroom acrobatics. It is a story about a common type of accident - a rear-ender involving an automobile striking a truck or bus - often referred to, in accident reconstruction circles, as "the Jayne Mansfield syndrome."
I have often written about the impacts of overly-tight schedules as the primary causative factor in incidents - in fact, the underlying cause of perhaps half of them. Because speeding is one of the "cures" to this problem, one of its characteristics is the failure to slow down when the roadway surface is not, as jazz musicians say, "melody." One of the most common scenarios is to cruise over speed bumps and speed humps. Another is to fail to slow over rugged terrain, particularly potholes and the often dysfunctional patches that sloppy road crews create to "repair" them.
For decades, multiple sources cited the commonly-accepted statistic that only an estimated four percent of all individuals possessed a medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). OSA is largely the result of certain physical characteristics and lifestyle habits that reduce the flow of oxygen into one's lungs while asleep. These characteristics result in lowered blood oxygen levels throughout one's normal night's sleep, and lower the quality of that sleep such that the individual is fatigued through much of the day.
Supply and Demand: When it comes down to it, the ultimate dynamics of survival in life on Earth. More poetically, 70's pop artist icon James Taylor crooned, "You provide the satisfy, and I'll provide the need." So here we go on another jaunt to expand the scenarios for motorcoach usage. However, along the road, we are actually inventing a brand new mode - not that no one has necessarily tried this particular one before.
As with every installment in this series of articles, this particular model or vision is highly unusual, has only limited application, and requires considerable creativity and effort to bring to life, and still contains some constraints even if and when one can develop it beyond the womb of an idea.
There are plenty of things obvious to almost any adult, motorist or pedestrian about large vehicles. The most obvious is their size and mass. But at the other end of the spectrum lie nuances rarely understood by anyone who has not driven a vehicle with a long wheelbase: The way such a vehicle turns, and the way its tires "track" compared to those of a typical automobile, van or pickup truck.
One of the most fundamental concepts of liability is that the defendant "takes the victim as he finds him." Apart from hospitals and nursing homes, few areas of modern life confront, litigate and test this principle as often as public transportation.
As we all know, public transportation is a fiercely competitive business, even in operating environments which are subsidized. But the failure to make tiny investments in safety can be costly in the courtroom.
Alcohol and bus ridership present a curious enigma. As a matter of public policy, we allow intoxication. As a matter of free market dynamics, we encourage it. And rightfully so, we want to protect those intoxicated from hurting themselves and others.