Another fatal Disney bus accident

There’s word this morning that a tourist has been killed at Walt Disney World. The 69-year-old Massachusetts man was in the parking lot at the Port Orleans Resort when he stepped into the path of a Disney bus.

It appears that the bus driver was not at fault and will not be charged. There were passengers on the bus at the time, and none of them were injured. This marks at least the fourth Disney bus accident this year at Walt Disney World, including one in April that killed a 9-year-old boy.

Earlier this year, there were concerns that a computer dispatching system on board the Disney buses, dubbed “Magic in Motion,” was a distraction for the drivers, though none of the earlier crashes this year was attributed to the driver being distracted.

Disney acted anyway and altered the system this summer so that the drivers cannot interact with it unless the bus is at a complete stop.

The Florida Highway Patrol is still investigating last night’s crash, and I’m sure that Disney will conduct its own internal investigation, as well. If there are safety problems found, they need to be corrected.

But it’s also time to examine Disney guests’ behavior on vacation.

Disney’s bus system is extensive. In fact, it’s larger than the city bus systems in nearby Orlando and Tampa. The highway system and parking lots there are also extensive – there are 40 square miles to cover and hundreds of thousands of cars travel the roads each day.

Yet, I continually see distracted people in “vacation mode,” pushing strollers through parking lots while their face is in a guidebook or map, children running off unattended in parking lots and, yes, people darting out in front of buses and cars and not using crosswalks.

So, don’t forget your common sense and safety rules when you go on vacation. While much of Walt Disney World is about the illusion – the “magic” – those are real cars and buses driving around the roads and parking lots.

[Image credit: Flickr user Darren Wittko]