Tips to Minimize Injury to Your Child If An Accident Occurs.
For parents whose children ride to school every morning on the familiar yellow school bus, one of the most terrifying items of breaking news is hearing that a school bus has been involved in a crash. The image of a child, perhaps yours, being thrown around a bus, or maybe even killed, is horrifying.
The reality of the danger to student riders may be less than one might think. The American School Bus Council (ASBC) reports that school buses are built with reinforced framing and enhanced visibility and designed to be safer than passenger vehicles. Student riders are significantly less prone to experience serious injuries or death. According to ASBC statistics, students who take a bus to school are 20 times more likely to arrive unharmed than if they ride with a parent or guardian. Students are exponentially safer in a school bus - 50 times - than riding in a car driven by a teenager. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics indicate that just .4%, of the 340,039 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States between 2003 and 2014 involved a school bus or other vehicle functioning as a school bus. Fatalities, particularly of children riders, are rare. The NHTSA reports that about 134 people die in school-vehicle-related crashes each year. Of those, just 8% are riders.
The fact is that school buses are among the safest form of transportation in the United States. Every year, some 23.5 million children ride to and from school and school-related activities on approximately 450,000 public school buses, with only limited incidents. We are quick to hear about accidents involving school buses primarily because they involve children.
Nonetheless, such accidents do happen and are terrifying to parents. If a child is injured or killed, determining liability can be complicated. In most instances, school buses are operated by local school districts or other governmental agencies. Often the local school district contracts with a private bus company to operate its buses, shifting responsibility for insurance coverage to the bus company.
For parents rightfully concerned about their child's safety while riding on a school bus, there are some things they can do to minimize the risk of injury. Remind your child every time he or she get on the bus to get to a seat right away, and to stay seated throughout the ride until the bus arrives at school or returns to the drop off spot. A child who is standing rather than seated is significantly more prone to being thrown around. Talk to the driver when your child is boarding the bus. Find out his or her name. Ask whom the driver works for, whether the local school district or a private company. Google the company and investigate its history of safety or violations. Call the company and find out if the driver has any health problems or has ever been cited for driving violations. Pay attention to how the driver looks when he or she picks up or drops off your child. Talk to your child daily and ask if how the ride went, or if anything unusual happened. Many accidents involving school buses occur because the driver was distracted. Rarely will the driver be impaired, but that can happen as well. If the driver looked impaired or your child says the driver was acting strangely, call the company and report your concerns.
Furthermore, ask the driver if he reminds the children to sit down should they get out of their seats. Find out if the driver reminds the children to calm down if they get rowdy. If possible, follow the bus in a car at least once during the school year. By doing so, you can become familiar with the route and any dangerous sites along the way and assure yourself that the driver observes all traffic and safety regulations. School bus accidents are unpredictable; the more steps you can take to assure yourself that the driver is vigilant and mindful of potentially dangerous conditions, the less likely your child's bus will be involved in an accident.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Family!
If your child has been injured in an accident involving a school bus and you believe negligence was involved, the Georgia personal injury law firm of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, can help. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you determine your legal rights following a bus accident, and advise you whether you may have a viable claim for compensation for your child's injuries. Our firm has over 35 years of experience in representing car accident victims across Georgia and in the Southeast. Contact us to schedule your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
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