Tips for Preventing School Bus Accidents
While school buses are generally a safe way for children to get to and from school, school bus accidents do end up causing injuries to children. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2011 through 2020 there were 44 fatalities of school-age children in accidents while riding a school bus. Among all school bus occupant fatalities during that period, 18 percent were five to 10 years old, and roughly the same percentage were 11 to 18 years old. Thus, there is still more work to do to prevent school bus accidents and to keep students safe while riding the bus.
Recommendations for Improving School Bus Safety
The NHTSA has made several recommendations for states and local school boards to implement to further improve school bus safety for students. These recommendations include:
- Improve school bus loading/drop-off zones: Because many school bus-related accidents occur when school bus drivers and other motorists fail to see students who are waiting to board the school bus or who are crossing the street after getting off the bus, the NHTSA recommends authorities review loading/drop-off zones to ensure they are the safest areas for children to get on or off the bus.
- Limiting school bus driver distractions: School districts can also take steps to help minimize distractions for school bus drivers, including stronger policies against cell phone use behind the wheel, minimizing the use of dispatch radios, and helping to ensure that drivers are not distracted by students on the bus.
- Installing seat belts: The NHTSA believes that all school buses should be equipped with seat belts, although there is little to no funding available to help retrofit existing school buses.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a School Bus Accident?
Depending on the circumstances of a school bus accident, liability for student injuries may fall upon the:
- The school bus driver, if their negligent operation of the bus led to an accident
- Another driver, such as when a vehicle hits a school bus or a driver fails to yield to a school bus and hits a student that is embarking or disembarking from the bus
- The school district or school bus operator, which may be held vicariously liable for a bus driver’s negligence or directly liable for negligently hiring a bus driver who posed a foreseeable risk of an accident
- The bus manufacturer, if an accident is caused due to a design or manufacturing defect that leads to a mechanical failure
Other Tips to Help Keep Your Children Safe Riding the School Bus
If your children take the bus to school, there are tips you should go over with them that can help keep them safe from a potential accident:
- When waiting for the school bus, stand away from the curb or side of the street to remain out of the way of traffic
- Do not run across the street, and look both ways before crossing
- Wait until the school bus comes to a complete stop and the driver instructs you to get on or off the bus
- Remain seated at all times; do not stand up or kneel on the seat while the school bus is moving
- Avoid shouting or screaming, which can distract the bus driver
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Near You to Discuss Your Bus Accident Case in New Jersey
Were you or a loved one injured in New Jersey due to a bus accident? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. represent clients injured in Middlesex, Edison, Perth Amboy, Westfield, New Brunswick, and throughout Ocean County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Middlesex County, New Jersey. Call (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3315 Route 35, Hazlet, NJ 07730 as well as offices in Red Bank, Brick, and Westfield.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.