What are your rights if your child was involved in a school bus accident?
2016 was a terrible year for school bus crashes in DeKalb County. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently reported that Dekalb County school buses averaged 1.2 accidents per day. In total, county school buses were in 432 accidents in 2016. That number is much higher than all other Atlanta-area school districts and DeKalb County Bus crashes happen with alarming regularity considering the school year is 180 days long.
The DeKalb County school district initially under-reported the total amount of accidents as well. The district reported just over 200 crashes for 2016 but corrected the discrepancy after noticing the error. The school district was forced to amend other years as well and it had reported zero crashes in 2014 and only two in 2015. However, in actuality, there were 230 accidents in 2014 and 267 for 2015. Georgia school districts must report an accident to the state's Department of Education within 45 days of the crash. DeKalb County simply was not following that procedure.
The Georgia Department of Education uses the data collected from accident reports for training. Considering the sheer volume of crashes, there seems to be a need for increased training of school bus drivers. Perhaps other reforms might be helpful to reduce the frequency of the crashes. Georgia law permits an 18-year-old who has passed the school bus driving test and satisfied other requirements to drive a school bus. Each school district sets the age minimum. Some school districts require their drivers to have attained the age of 21 before driving a school bus in those districts.
Questions emerge when information like this comes to light. There is no indication that the school district intentionally under-reported the accident numbers.
Additionally, the report does not include information such as the number of reported injuries, the severity of the crashes, or who was at fault. However, parents should be concerned that their children are at risk of being involved in a school bus accident. Concerned parents should take the initiative and inquire about the risks their kids take. Parents can ask questions like:
• Has my child's bus been involved in a reported accident?
• Were there any injuries?
• Were the police or law enforcement involved?
• How did the accident happen?
• Were traffic violations issued?
• Irrespective of whether the driver was cited while driving a bus or their private vehicle, does my child's driver have a history of traffic violations?
• What is being done to protect my child in the event of a crash? Are the children given instructions on what to do in the event of a crash such as how to use an emergency exit?
• Are crash reports available to review as public documents?
How Can A Georgia School Bus Accident Attorney Help If Your Child Was Injured In A Bus Crash?
Our knowledgeable school bus accident attorneys At Montlick & Associates understand how traumatic such accidents can be for children. Priorities must be set straight right from the start. Our attorneys know how to obtain information that will help our client's claims, such as police reports, medical records, crash reports, and records of discipline of the school bus driver, if any.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 35 Years Of Legal Experience To Work For Your Case!
Call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 35 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours day/7 days a week for 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 chat.
Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333
Toll Free: 1 (800) LAW-NEED