Bus accidents, particularly those involving school-aged children, have been on the rise in Florida. Even on the news, tales of drivers crashing into school buses dominate the headlines, leaving school children nursing severe injuries.
Truthfully, drivers can be more careful in driving responsibly and demonstrate respect for the personal integrity of other road users since the road is a shared facility. Death and injury should not be the price of education, and other drivers can help to minimize school bus accidents and increase the safety of minors.
How other road users can minimize school bus accidents in Florida
- Use the Horn: Always alert the school bus driver when you decide to overtake. Applying the car horn is a good way to alert the driver in front of you.
- Drive Gently: Gentility can be applied to driving even when you are in haste. Aggressive driving can put young lives in danger.
- Never be in a Hurry to Pass a School Bus: We believe this is as simple as it gets.
- Obey Traffic Rules: Traffic rules must be obeyed, particularly stop signs and the red light.
- Do Not Exceed Speed Limits Everywhere: Exceeding speed limits carries many disadvantages and no advantages. When a driver maintains the appropriate speed limit, they can easily apply his brakes to bring their vehicle to a halt and avert a catastrophe. But when the vehicle is at top speed, the driver is prone to losing control.
- Reverse Slowly: Always double-check. Children can be spontaneous. The adult must make sure to be careful when reversing.
- Slow down for children who want to cross the road: Children can be spontaneous and may pay little attention to the possible consequences of their decision.
- Be alert: Children are not as careful as adults and do not have a sense of danger.
- Watch out for children who, in haste, dart into the road: Keep your eyes on the road. Be careful with school children who may want to dart across the road.
- Avoid distractions: Drivers should not distract themselves or entertain a distraction behind the steering. Habits such as texting and calling should be suspended. You wouldn’t want to risk a kid’s life just because you wouldn’t put your phone down or fix your eyes on the road.
Florida’s Seat Belt Law
Florida has a seatbelt law that mandates every driver operating a motor vehicle, every passenger occupying the front seat, and every passenger b
elow the age of eighteen to use their seatbelts while the vehicle is in motion.
The law cited as Florida seatbelt law is code in the Florida Statute 316.614
It is unlawful for any person:
(a) To operate a motor vehicle or an autocycle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle or autocycle under 18 years are restrained by a safety belt or by a child restraint device pursuant to s. 316.613, if applicable; or
(b) To operate a motor vehicle or an autocycle in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.
Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017. This is according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, drivers and passengers who are at least 18 years old and not properly buckled up may receive a ticket. In addition, drivers will be cited for a seat belt violation if any passenger under the age of 18 is not secured by a seat belt or child restraint device.
National Seat Belt Statistics
Of the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51% were not wearing seat belts — a 4% increase from 2019.
Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts in 2017 alone.
57% of 13 and 14-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2020 were known to be unrestrained
Advantages of using a seatbelt
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle, seat belts save lives only if worn correctly every time you are in a motor vehicle. In a crash, your seat belt keeps you:
- From being ejected from the vehicle;
- From being thrown against other passengers, the steering wheel, or the windshield;
- Behind the wheel where you can control the vehicle.
Furthermore, using seat belts
- Reduces the impact of a collision
- Affects your auto insurance rates and ultimately works in your favor
- Reduces the occurrence of serious injury and even death
- Keeps the user safe
A message from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle
Wear your lap belt around your hips and your shoulder belt across your chest. The seat belt will not work if it is tucked behind you. Airbags are no substitute for seat belts.
In Florida, on average, 41 percent of those killed in crashes in vehicles where seat belt use is required choose not to wear one. That means hundreds of people who died on Florida roads had the option to wear a seat belt but didn’t. In addition, men were more than twice as likely to be killed in a crash not wearing a seat belt than females.
To make the message click, parents must model safe driving habits for their children. Teach your kids that we are never too old, never too cool, and never too busy to buckle up. No matter the trip’s length, there is no substitute for seat belts.
Every time you get in a vehicle, no matter where you are sitting, buckle up. That click reduces your risk of being injured or killed in a crash by almost 50 percent.
The Florida Highway Patrol and law enforcement across the state participate in the national enforcement campaign, “Click it or Ticket,” to encourage safety belt use.
Exceptions to the Florida Seatbelt Law
- A person certified by a physician has a medical condition that causes seat belt use to be inappropriate or dangerous. (Keep a copy of certification while driving/being driven).
- Employee of a newspaper home delivery service while delivering newspapers.
- School buses were purchased new before December 31, 2000.
- Buses are used for transportation of persons for compensation.
- Farm equipment.
- Trucks with a net weight of more than 26,000 pounds.
How Parents can Model Seatbelt Use
- Never be in a hurry to drive without ensuring your kids are buckled up
- Model it to them
- Insist that your children are buckled.
- Always double-check. Do not assume that your children are buckled
- Children below age 13 should ride at the back and be properly buckled
Contact your Bus Accident Attorney in Tampa and St. Petersburg
If a school bus accident was caused by the negligence of someone else who should have acted better, then we are the right people for you to speak with. Let us help you fight for your compensation. The injured person’s right is to seek compensation from the person or persons responsible for their accident.
Did it happen in Florida? Contact us at the Coleman Law Group. We have a team of experienced and well-trained attorneys who have helped many accident victims receive their entitled financial compensation.