It is back to school time for Baltimore County children, who will be returning to class on September 5, 2017. As families are enjoying the dwindling days of summer and stocking up on school supplies, now is a great time to remind parents and kids of all ages about school bus safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 174 children died in school-transportation related incidents from 2003-2012, both as bus passengers and pedestrians. While we may not be able to prevent all school bus accidents in Baltimore County, it is helpful to review common causes of these incidents and learn some tips on how to avoid injury.
Common Causes of School Bus Accidents
There are many different factors that contribute to bus accidents, usually as a result of the bus driver’s or another motorist’s negligence. Common causes include:
- A violation of traffic laws or regulations that apply to bus drivers;
- Insufficient bus driver training;
- Improper licensing or expired licensing for the bus driver;
- Defects within the school bus systems;
- Insufficient maintenance, failure to inspect, or failure to make repairs to the bus;
- The failure of other motorists to properly yield or stop for a bus that’s dropping off children; and,
- Many other factors.
Children at Risk of Injuries
Bus accidents are like other types of traffic incidents in that the injuries to victims can range from minor to severe. Broken bones, scrapes, lacerations, and soft tissue injuries can be painful and debilitating. More serious injuries, like traumatic brain injury, head trauma, spinal cord damage, and harm to internal organs may leave a victim with temporary or permanent disability. In serious accidents, as the NHTSA reports, there may even be fatalities.
Tips for Avoiding School Bus Accidents
Parents can help children stay safe as the year gets started by reminding them about school bus safety and offering a frequent recap of these tips:
- Always walk to the bus, even when running late. Risky behavior is most common when children are rushed, so allow plenty of time to get to the stop.
- Stay away from roadways when traveling to and from the bus stop, and while waiting for a pick up – even if your neighborhood isn’t heavily trafficked,
- Wait at the curb until the bus driver opens the door before stepping toward the bus. These vehicles are large and difficult to stop quickly.
- Pay attention to the flashing red lights on the bus, as these are indications to other motorists to stop for children. If the lights are not on, you risk an accident if you approach the roadway.
These suggestions should be helpful for families as preparations are underway for the first bell of the year to ring, but accidents can happen when you least expect them. If you or your child is injured in a school bus accident due to negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. To hear more about your options after a school bus accident, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman. We can answer your questions or schedule a consultation to review your case.
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