School Bus Safety – It Cannot Be Ignored

Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP March 20, 2015

When parents send their children to school on buses every day, they rely on the driving skills of the bus drivers to get their safely to school. The attorneys and lawyers who handle accident claims continue to deal with incidents involving children injured while passengers riding these buses. There are many safety concerns that should be addressed to avoid such incidents, safety issues that involve both parents and bus drivers.

School Transportation Accident Statistics

Numerous children and other people are injured or killed in accidents involving school buses and other school transportation vehicles every year. Attorneys handling injury claims advise that since 2003, an estimated 1,353 fatalities and even more injuries have occurred in school transportation-related crashes that involve: children on school buses; children getting on and off school buses; pedestrians; and people in other vehicles.1 Of the fatalities, 119 were school-aged pedestrians under the age of 19; 106 were occupants of school transport vehicles; and more injuries and fatalities involving occupants of other vehicles.1

Traffic Laws Involving School Buses

Experienced accident attorneys state that a notable cause of school bus-related accidents is failure of other vehicles to abide by local traffic laws pertaining to school transportation vehicles. In Texas, drivers are required to stop in their lane when school buses put on their flashing lights and stop sign to indicate a drop off or pick up occurring: in the lane containing the school bus; a neighboring lane going the same direction; or in oncoming lanes. The stop sign on the bus is considered the same as any other type of stop sign, which means it is illegal to continue driving.

Lawyers who work with these type of injury cases report that failure to abide by this traffic law is the cause of many accidents involving school buses and their occupants every year . When drivers attempt to pull around a stopped school bus or do not stop in oncoming lanes, the results involving children getting on and off that bus may involve an injury or even a fatality. In Texas, failure to adhere to traffic laws regarding stopping for school buses is a traffic violation and may result in a fine between $500 and $1,250 for illegally passing a school bus.2

Preventing School Bus Accidents

According to the attorneys who help injured people recover from traffic accidents, attentive driving to prevent deadly accidents caused by not stopping for a school bus or hitting a bus when stopped on the road is vital. This is especially important in urban and suburban residential areas where school buses travel busy routes every day to pick up and deliver children because there is a greater likelihood of drivers encountering a stopped bus in these areas. It it important to be aware of the time of day and watch even more attentively for buses at school pick-up and drop-off zones. All drivers should be alert for any school bus with its flashers on, as well as be aware that school buses are required to stop and pause before railroad crossings.

A school bus is a safe and efficient way to transport children to and from school. They help reduce traffic traveling around schools and provide a secure, trusted service to transport children to and from school. School bus-related accidents and injury to young passengers can be prevented if all drivers are watching for school bus activity, know the rules of the road involving these vehicles, and stop for them as required. Injury lawyers who specialize in these incidents agree that most of these accidents can be prevented when drivers pay attention to all school bus activity.