Big yellow school buses are frequent sites on the road in the early morning and afternoon hours, as they transport kids to and from school. Although school buses are actually the safest way for children to get to school, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they are not completely safe as NHTSA estimates that four children die in school bus crashes annually and many more are injured.
School bus related motor vehicle accidents can include rollovers, head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, and side-impact accidents – leading to innocent children suffering serious and event fatal injuries as a result.
Factors That Lead to School Bus Crashes
Some of the causes of school bus accidents include:
- Other drivers’ negligence. When drivers are talking on cell phones, texting and driving, talking to passengers, impaired by alcohol or drugs, driving drowsy, or speeding and driving aggressively, they have a higher chance of crashing into school buses. If another driver’s negligence caused a school bus wreck, that driver and his or her insurance company can be liable.
- Distracted driving by school bus drivers. Even though school bus drivers aren’t supposed to text while driving, many school bus drivers sneak a peek at their cell phones to read or send a quick text. When drivers are distracted in any form – even eating while driving – crashes can occur. If a school bus accident was the cause of distracted driving on the part of the school bus driver, the school district should be held accountable.
- Drowsy driving by school bus drivers. When drivers get behind the wheel of big yellow school buses, parents are trusting them with their children’s lives. Unfortunately, some school bus drivers fail to get adequate sleep and tend to nod off while driving people’s precious cargo. When tired drivers cause wrecks, school districts can be liable for injuries that result.
- Other acts of carelessness and negligence by school bus drivers. Sometimes school bus drivers get into crashes because they were eating or because they took some sort of drug – even prescription medications – that altered their judgment. If an accident was caused by a school bus driver’s negligence, the school district can be held accountable.
- Poor bus maintenance and tire upkeep. When school districts fail to take school buses off the road for regular maintenance and to replace tires, they can be held liable in the event that lack of maintenance led to a wreck.
- Defects in manufacturing or school bus parts. School buses could have things go wrong during the manufacturing process or could have a defective part that causes a crash. In this event, school bus manufacturers or part manufacturers could be responsible for school bus accidents.
Whatever the cause of a school bus crash, children often get hurt as a result. One of the many reasons why children suffer injuries in school bus accidents is due to the fact that there is no federal school bus seat belt law. This means that there are more school buses in this country that do not have seat belts than there are that do. The reason for this is because it cost a lot of money to retrofit school buses (about $7,000 to $10,000 per bus) and because the government hasn’t issued a federal mandate requiring seat belts on school buses.
Importance of Seat Belts on School Buses
NHTSA recently announced its position on seat belts on school buses. While NHTSA isn’t issuing a rule at this time, its goal is to get three-point seat belts on every school bus in America. Because not every state requires seat belts on school buses, NHTSA is calling on the states that do have this rule to help out. Because Florida is one of only six states that require seat belts on school buses, our state will have a hand in helping NHTSA start a nationwide movement regarding seat belts on school buses.
The statistics prove that seat belts save lives, which is why children should be provided with this safety as they are transported to and from school on big yellow buses. Please spread the word about this important safety topic by sharing this article on Facebook with your family and friends.
In the event you need a personal injury lawyer after a school bus accident, please call the Law Offices of David Benenfeld at 866-9 HELP NOW or 866-943-5766 for a free consultation today.