The end of summer marks the start of a new school year for most children in the United States. When you send your children off to learn, you do so under the assumption that they will not only be safe in the classroom but also on the way to and from school. Many parents rely on the school bus system to transport their children during the school day, but as with any motor vehicle, accidents may occur.
The American School Bus Council reports that 25 million students ride school buses during the academic year, and any one of them are at risk by doing so. Accidents can happen when the children are boarding, exiting, or riding on the bus. Out of the three, most accidents occur while the children are approaching or leaving the school bus.
Children sometimes treat bus stops as places to hangout or play, which should be avoided. While kids should arrive early to their bus stops, they should not hang out in the street or wait too close to the curb. It is imperative for children and pedestrians to use caution around school buses, as well. If you and/or your child are walking around the bus, be sure to allow plenty of space between yourselves and the vehicle.
The physical ride on the bus is the most unpredictable part of the journey. School buses are required to abide by federal safety regulations, but even those regulations cannot prevent a crash or accident. While many buses do not have seatbelts, the seats are specifically designed to protect passengers from head-on and rear-end collisions. But what about cases involving a broadside collision or rollover?
Accidents can occur for a variety of reasons with bad weather and time of day both being factors. The most common time for bus-related crashes is between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., which is during the time children are riding home from school. Other causes of accidents include distracted drivers whether the bus driver or the driver of the other vehicle, speeding, road conditions, and poor bus maintenance.
Regardless of when or how school bus accidents occur, the results can be severe and, in some cases, deadly. To prevent these accidents, it’s important to talk with your child about bus safety and to instruct him/her to listen to the bus driver and abide by the rules. If you’re another driver on the road, be aware and extra vigilant around school buses.
Regardless of who is responsible for the school bus crash, it’s important to consult a trusted attorney to find out more about your legal rights. If you’ve been involved in a school bus collision or other vehicle accident, contact the experienced lawyers at Bannister, Wyatt, & Stalvey for a consultation today.