A bus accident? No one would ever want to trigger its occurrence, let alone children; every parent’s special gift and the future of any nation. However, for several reasons, a bus accident is more complicated and catastrophic than a motor vehicle accident. One possible reason is that buses convey more passengers than vehicles. This means more lives at risk of untimely death and more families plunged into grief.

Bus accidents are increasingly rising, but research has shown that school children are still safer using the school bus system to commute to school than in private vehicles.

Bus Accident Statistics in the United States 

School buses are relatively safe for school-aged children. According to the key findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in their 2018 Traffic Safety Facts: 

  • From 2007 to 2016, 1,282 people of all ages were killed in school transportation-related crashes—an average of 128 fatalities per year.
  • From 2007 to 2016, there were 281 school-age children killed in school-transportation-related crashes: 58 were occupants of school vehicles, 116 were occupants of other vehicles, 98 were pedestrians, 8 were pedal cyclists, and 1 was another nonoccupant.
  • Thirty-four (35%) of the school-age pedestrians killed in school transportation-related crashes from 2007 to 2016 were 8 to 13 years old.
  • Less than two-thirds (62%) of the school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school-transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or vehicles functioning as school buses (2007 to 2016).
  • Among school-age child occupants killed in school-transportation-related crashes, two times more died in other vehicles (116) than in school vehicles (58).
  • Among the 118 occupants killed in school vehicles, 50 were drivers, and 68 were passengers.
  • Impacts to the front of school vehicles occurred in 45 percent of fatal school-transportation-related crashes.

Possible causes of (School) Bus Accidents

  1. Distracted driving 
  2. Difficult road system
  3. Heavy population
  4. DUI
  5. Poor weather conditions
  6. Miscalculation/driver error
  7. Negligence of bus manufacturing company
  8. Blind spots

How to Minimize School Bus Accidents

Pay Attention: Paying attention is for everyone. School bus drivers must pay utmost and undivided attention when they are driving. Other road users, particularly motor vehicle drivers, must also be careful. All and sundry must demonstrate undivided attention.  

Obey Traffic Rules: Florida has many traffic rules that have been entrenched to safeguard the lives of motorists and pedestrians alike. These traffic rules must first be known and then adhered to. Awareness campaigns must continue to educate all road users. Florida has rules such as 

  • Drinking & driving violations
  • Driving without a license
  • Driving without insurance
  • Driving without registration 
  • Illegal U-turn
  • Mechanical violations
  • Reckless driving
  • Running a red light/stop sign
  • Seatbelt usage
  • Child restraint requirement 
  • Speeding

Speeding

This applies to school bus drivers and other drivers. Drivers should never be too haste to overtake a school bus without first alerting the bus driver. The driver should not overtake on the wrong side and must maintain appropriate speed limits. Various speed limits apply to different areas and zones. 

Municipal Areas – 30 mph

Business or Residential Area – 30 mph

All Other Roads and Highways – 55 mph

School Zones – 20 mph

  • School buses should be prioritized: School buses carrying school-aged children must be treated with priority. It should be understandable when a school bus driver chooses to drive slowly and steadily. 
  • Seat belts use must be enforced: Florida has a ‘Florida Safety belt law’ that mandates the use of seatbelts by motor vehicle passengers while in motion, including school buses. 

It is unlawful for any person:

(a) To operate a motor vehicle in this state unless each passenger and the operator of the vehicle under the age of 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 in this state unless the person is restrained by a safety belt.

(Florida Statute 316.614) (4)

  • Students must be seated: Accepted conduct is expected from students who decide to use the bus system. All passengers must be seated until it is time to disembark.  
  • Prohibiting overcrowding in school: School buses must not be overcrowded. School buses must carry passengers in line with the capacity of the bus.
  • Playing must be reduced: Although it will amount to an arduous task to stop children from playing altogether, playing must be minimized while onboard the school bus. Pupils must be taught that the school bus is not a playground. Acceptable conduct for boarding the school bus must be emphasized to all children on board. Playing and making noise can distract the driver, putting all passengers on board at great risk. 

Necessary Steps After a School Bus Accident

  • Safety First: Make sure everyone is safe. School buses should be towed away from the road or danger line. Pupils should be evacuated to a safe place. 
  • Call 911: It is necessary to call the local police office in your vicinity. This will also involve getting a police report and documenting every other crash detail. The other driver’s insurance policy, vehicle registration number, and license number will be documented if another vehicle is involved. 
  • Gather the facts: A headcount should be taken to ensure no one is left behind. Important information such as school bus number, name of the school, number of students on board, and location of where the accident occurred. Names and addresses of eyewitnesses should also be taken. 
  • Do not give Statements: Do not give statements to third parties even when it is requested for. You should politely decline such a request.
  • Visit the Hospital: Whether it’s a case of severe injuries, light bruises, or no injury at all, all passengers on board must be checked. An accident can be traumatic; even a near miss can cause anxiety for adults and children. Medical attention will include a physical examination of the child, any other examination, and therapy where necessary. Always get the opinion of a medical practitioner to ascertain their health status.
  • Recuperate: Allow the child to rest and recuperate. Physical, mental, and emotional health must be top-notch before resuming school. 
  • Contact a Bus Accident Attorney: If you suffer a bus accident and wish to pursue your compensation in Tampa and St Petersburg, consider contacting us to employ our expertise in providing you with top-notch legal representation and claim the financial compensation you deserve. 

What You Should Tell Your Kids 

Educating your child before allowing them to join other kids in using the school is a great advantage. Are Here a few things you can remind them of: 

  1. The school bus is not a playground
  2. Do not distract your driver
  3. Always fasten your seatbelt while onboard the school bus
  4. Allow the school bus to come to a complete stop before you disembark
  5. Do not be on your feet when the bus is moving
  6. Look well before you cross. When crossing in front of a bus or car, make sure the driver sees you
  7. Do not run across the road 
  8. Do not put your head or arms out of the window when the bus is moving or anytime

Contact your Bus Accident Attorney in Tampa and St. Petersburg 

If your school-aged ward has been in a school bus accident 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.

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.

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