When parents send their kids off to school for a new academic year, many choose to have their kids transported to and from school via bus. This is a practical option for many parents who don’t want their children walking to school but whose schedules make it difficult for them to drop their children off. And while it’s normal for any parent to feel a little anxiety over the thought of their child’s taking a bus to school, it’s important to understand that school buses are generally very safe. In fact, studies have found that school buses are among the safest forms of transportation for children, ranking safer than walking to school or even being dropped off by a parent.
Unfortunately, school bus accidents do happen from time to time. By having a better understanding of the common causes of school bus accidents and their subsequent injuries, parents can make better informed decisions regarding the safety of their children.
School bus accidents most commonly occur as a result of negligent motorists who don’t know how to properly share the road with a school bus. This includes accidents that occur when a motorist fails to stop as a school bus pulls to the side to drop off or pick up children. In these cases, children may be struck by vehicles when entering or exiting the bus.
Negligent bus drivers can also lead to school bus accidents. This may happen if the driver is distracted or makes a mistake such as speeding or blowing a stop sign. When this occurs, school buses can collide with other vehicles and cause serious damage or injury. In even more serious situations, a bus driver may even have an accident as a result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
There are many potential injuries that can arise as a result of a school bus accident, with some of the more common including abrasions, cuts, and broken bones or fractures. Sadly, in some cases, school bus crashes can even prove fatal. Fortunately, instances of serious injury as a result of school bus accidents are declining. This is most likely due to an increase in safety features found in today’s school buses, including seat belts (which weren’t common in school buses until relatively recently). A stronger focus on school bus driver training and zero-tolerance policies for drug or alcohol use may also be contributing to the decline of major injuries or deaths caused by school bus accidents. Still, they do happen.
There are many safety tips parents can pass on to their children who ride the school bus on a daily basis. For starters, make sure that children know to stand away from the curb as buses approach and to always look both ways for traffic before getting on or off a bus. Children should also be taught to wait for an “all clear” signal from a bus driver before making their way onto the bus. Parents whose children have to be at a bus stop early in the morning, potentially before the sun rises, should also make sure their children are wearing highly visible (possibly even reflective) clothing to make sure they can be seen by other motorists.
For motorists, the biggest safety tip to remember is that when a bus stops and puts on its flashing red lights, this should be treated as a red traffic light by vehicles traveling in all directions. It is illegal to try to pass a school bus when it is making pick-ups or drop-offs; not only could you be ticketed, your actions could cause a serious accident.
While school buses are generally a very safe means of transportation, accidents do happen, and parents should be prepared for the unlikely event that their child becomes a victim of a school bus accident. Aside from making sure your child is okay, an important next step to take is to find a reputable and experienced attorney to represent you and keep your best interests in mind. If you accrue medical bills or other expenses as a result of the accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The offices of Chris J. Roy, Jr. have years of experience in helping bus accident victims fight for the compensation they may be entitled to in central Louisiana. You can schedule a free consultation today by giving us a call at 318-487-9537.