Avoiding Accidents with School Buses and at Bus Stops
While a small percentage of all accidents involve school transportation vehicles, any school bus-related accident is a tragedy. Nationwide, there are about 131 fatalities each year resulting from school bus crashes.
More than 374,000 Alabama students ride school buses each day to and from school, putting more than 66 million miles on our state’s roads. There are over 8,200 buses in service in the Alabama public school system, and a majority of these buses weigh from 13-15 tons each.
Even though it is true that a child is much safer riding to school on a school bus than in a passenger car, accidents still happen, and people can be gravely injured. School buses actually pose a more significant danger to pedestrians and other drivers, so it is also vital to use caution around them.
Now that school is back in full swing, here are several tips for avoiding accidents with school buses and at bus stops.
School Bus Safety Tips for Children
If your child rides the bus to school, speak with them about making safety a priority. More accidents occur getting on and off the bus than while driving down the road, so extra caution should be taken at and around bus stops. Focus on these tips to help keep your kids safe:
- Children should wait for a bus a safe distance from the roadway, preferably 10 feet or more.
- Children should avoid horseplay at school buses since this is an activity that is more likely to have them dart into the road unexpectedly.
- Children should understand and avoid the Danger Zone, which is a 10-foot-wide area extending on every side of the bus. This is an area where a child is least visible and most likely to be involved in an accident with a school bus.
- Children should avoid horseplay inside the school bus and any behaviors that could distract the driver. This includes getting out of seats, walking up and down the aisles, and making loud noises.
- Children should always use seat belts when they are on a school bus.
Drivers: Know the Law and Use Caution
Whether you are a parent or a driver that lives near local schools, you should understand the laws related to school buses as well as the ways that you can stay safe around these large vehicles.
- Alabama law requires that traffic in either direction must stop when a school bus has flashing lights and an extended stop sign. You must also stop at least 20 feet away from the bus.
- This law applies when there is a two or four-lane road without a median.
- If there is a median in a divided highway, only traffic following the school bus, or in the lane next to it, must stop.
- Vehicles must remain stopped until the school bus turns off its lights and folds in its stop sign.
- Drivers should not proceed until all children have reached a place of safety. If in doubt, you should remain stopped until you are sure that every child is out of the road.
Who Is to Blame When There a School Bus Accident?
Despite your best efforts, there might still be a tragic accident involving a school bus. While some accidents are unavoidable, more often than not there is some carelessness or negligence that contributed to the crash. The circumstances of the accident will determine who was liable, and fault may even lie with several different parties.
Some school buses aren’t maintained as they should be, or the accident could be the fault of an inattentive driver. A mechanical error could also have caused or contributed to the crash. Some of the parties that could be responsible in these circumstances include:
- The school bus driver
- Another vehicle driver
- The bus or parts manufacturer
- The school district or bus company
Speak with an Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
If you or your child has been injured due to the negligence of another party, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. Personal injury cases in Alabama can be complicated and difficult to purse, but when you have an experienced and aggressive litigator in your corner, you have a much better chance of securing a favorable result.
At the Law Office of J. Allan Brown, L.L.C., we will thoroughly investigate your case, take measures to protect your legal rights, and advise you of your options. Contact our Mobile office now at 251-473-6691 to schedule a free initial consultation.